Zoggs in Swaziland (now eSwatini) supplies us with their amazing range of colourful papier mache products.
It is a small company set up in 2000, and employs 8 women, who in turn support on average 8 people with their income. Zoggs is a member of SWIFT (Swaziland Fair Trade), which is a member of The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO). Founder Zoe says: "We have always worked within Fair Trade guidelines. We are a family".
Over the years, Zoggs has perfected the technique of paper mache. No scrap of paper is safe. They use whatever they can find, and in a country where recycling is in its infancy, that makes a welcome change. The paper is shredded, soaked and pulped. After that, a secret mix of herbs and spices is added and the result is awesome clay-like medium. Different paper will give different effects, and Zoe says: "We have come a long way with our pulp and our adventure is by no means over".
The mache pulp is then manipulated into various shapes, sometimes using balloons as a mould (for the bowls and the piggy banks). The drying process is lengthy and tricky, and it is important that the products don’t dry out too quickly. And then the fun begins.... each creature and item is individually "Zoggs-ed" with a bright and colourful design.
The different layers of paint have to be applied in between drying times. All paints used are water-based and non-toxic and lead-free. The artisan Bongiwe can often be found applying the final touches to one of our bowls. She is responsible for much of the designing and you will find her name gracing the bottom of many of our bowls.
Zoe says: "The satisfaction of starting off with a couple of pieces of paper an ending up with a completely unique functional item still gives me goose bumps”.
In addition Zoggs make innovative products from recycled wood and metal. From Earrings to Watering Cans and from Jugs and Buckets to Key-holders.
The Zoggs team are constantly coming up with fresh product ideas – recycled, bright and …….FUN !!!!!!