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A journey through product design with the artisans in Malawi

The artisans in Malawi have always been at the forefront purpose of the Coastal Drift and Malawi Cane business for Monique, our Founder. As a Malawian herself, Monique started the business, to ensure the Malawi crafts people were recognised for their infamous chair, their broader artistic capabilities, and to protect their traditional skills and income for many future generations to come.

Passion and purpose

Monique has worked with her lifetime knowledge of the artisans skill-set, the techniques they use, and the natural fibres and materials endemic in Malawi. Monique has combined this knowledge with the Australian design aesthetics and desires, to create additional furniture ranges, lighting and decor pieces. This in turn extends the product remit of the artisans in Malawi far beyond the Malawi chair; and creates much social and economic empowerment to the rural villages in Malawi.

From paper to port

When working with the artisans on a new design piece, based on Monique's initial sketches, the artisan creates a sample and Monique will highlight the important areas of quality within a certain piece. The artisans then provides a price based on the volume of fibres required to create, and the time it takes them to weave. Many months later, we bring a finished product to sell within the Australian marketplace.

Conscious consumerism

Critical to the design quality process, has been the longevity of an item'

s lifetime. Monique is famous for saying "my little girl still plays on my Malawi chair that I had when I was a child." In this word of fast and mass-consumerism, Monique is passionate about driving the importance of "buy once, buy well". Quality handmade pieces made from natural fibres will not only last longer, but they also protect traditional hand techniques to be passed on to future generations.

Thank you for our icons

We have been humbled that many of our designs have gone to become new icons within the Malawi Cane range, such as our Traditional Hanging Loveseat, the Classic and Traditional Counter Stools, the Classic Lounger, and the Balcony Bench to name just a few. By having regular orders, and ongoing popular items across a wide range of designs, with pricing set by the artisans reassures them of their financial stability. We are ever-grateful for the support the Australian market has provided the Malawian people.

Come on a little journey through the years of product design between Monique and the artisans in Malawi.

Shop the new icons here on our NEW ARRIVALS page.

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