Decoration items produced by a group of artisans from the southeastern Brazilian state of EspÀrito Santo are adorning houses in the United States, and European and Middle East countries.
Company Jobi Artezanato, from state capital Vitória, exports a container with around 1,000 items to the United States every two months. From there, a representative makes the objects reach countries in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
The company does not have precise figures about how much is sold to the Arab countries, but one of the company partners and founding members, the French Jocelyne Scoffone, states that shipping to the region, which is sporadic, started around seven years ago.
“We have already sold to Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq,” she said. Jobi produces from tables to vases, lampshades and trinkets in the shape of animals. The products are made out of ceramics or wood and are covered in various kinds of mosaics, like shiny crystal and ceramics.
Jobi was established around 25 years ago, when Jocelyne, who graduated in Aesthetics at a school in Paris, moved to Espírito Santo to dedicate herself to painting. On meeting Edla Murad, her current partner, they both decided to start working with handcraft.
The initial intention was to bring income to the women in the region who did not have any work, or who had been abandoned by their husbands, left with children to bring up.
“All of our artisans are women,” explained Jocelyne. Of the 17 people who work at Jobi, nine are women. “They are women who had nothing, who brought up their children alone,” she explained. The products are made artistically.
The daughter of a French couple, Jocelyne was born in Casablanca and lived in Morocco until the age of 17. Her father worked for a French state-owned company that builds water supply systems and was providing services in the country.
When her father moved to Rio de Janeiro, so as to provide the same service, Jocelyne came with him. At the company it is Jocelyne, together with her partner, who specializes in antiques, who takes care of creation of the objects.
The entrepreneur does not classify the products made by Jobi as art with a Moroccan influence, but she points out that the Arabs also use mosaics very much. “Their mosaic is a little more rustic, used on walls and ceilings,” she said.
Apart from the regular export of around 1,000 products, the artisans also receive other sporadic orders. Around three months ago, Jobi started selling on the domestic market, after participating in decoration fairs, and put its brand on the products sold.
Until then, the products were exported without the company name. The change started after a partnership with the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) and the Bank of Brazil (BB).
In January, Jobi also received the International Star Award for Quality, by Business Initiative Directions Awards, an institution from Madrid, Spain, that supports small enterprises.
The artisans from Espírito Santo received the award in the main category, the gold, and received the award on January 24, at the International Quality Convention, in France.
The award took into consideration the quality of the products, innovation and leadership of the businessmen involved in the enterprise. Their work was discovered by the organization through the Sebrae.
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Translated by Mark Ament
ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency
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