TFS applies a trade-based-impact model, undertaking capacity building activities within a supported supplier-buyer relationship. Our model addresses critical gaps in traditional development approaches to capacity building in the cottage production sector: access to the market and market viability.
Through targeted investment in the first 12-24 months, we seek to develop the professional capacity of our partners, while developing a marketable product for TFS. Our goal is to move from intensive capacity building, to break even through sales revenue, and finally to growth. This is achieved through a four-phase process:
Product scoping and testing: we get to know our partner organisation and identify their strengths and needs, explore their supply chain and start testing some early ideas.
Product development: we start developing products that can be sold under the TFS brand and put this into practice with our capacity building plan, allowing products to steadily increase their expertise. We adjust the capacity building plan as needed, and bring products up to export standards.
Making: now we start production, having enveloped a quality product we’re confident in. The capacity development plan is in place and we are still providing support, starting with small orders and identifying where gaps are and how the market responds.
Business as usual: with 12 months of product orders complete, we now take a step back and are less involved with partner organisations. We manage orders remotely but continue to provide mentorship and assist where necessary.
TFS work has a direct impact on our partners and producers, and has impact across the value chain, with an emphasis on women-led alternatives across the system.