Exporting Hand Loomed, Handmade or Folklore Articles (Category 9) To The USA Market
ImageUnder AGOA, Kenya exports textiles and apparel items duty free and quota free to the United States of America. In addition to this benefit, Kenya is also accredited to export hand loomed fabric and handmade apparels made from hand loomed fabric since August 2002 with an aim of increasing the export of non traditional products to the US market.

Definition of Hand loomed Fabrics

Hand loomed fabrics and hand-made articles are commonly referred to as folklore articles or category 9 articles. They include; rugs, carpets, shawls, scarves, placemats, tablecloths, kitchen clothes, garments among others all of which are available in Kenya.  However, in the US market these products are categorised as follows:
1.Home furnishings: decorative pillows, throws, cushions patterned/plain/textured, floor pillows
2.Table linens: tablecloths, table runners, placemats, coasters, table napkins
3.Flooring: rugs, mats
4.Curtain/window treatments: drapes, curtains/blinds, tie-backs/holdbacks

Eligibility Criteria

For these articles to be eligible, the goods must be either;
a.    Hand-loomed fabrics;
b.    Hand-made goods made of such hand-loomed fabrics;
c.    Traditional folklore goods; or
d.    Ethnic printed fabrics.
Each folklore item should include the folklore article’s name as well as a detailed description of the article. The comprehensive description should include the size, dimension, shape, pattern, colour and/orany other specific ways of identifying the product as a traditional folklore good of Kenya and also including historical aspects and usage.
For an entrepreneur to market and export hand loomed and hand made products to the US market, they need to be of good quality, well packaged, well-priced product, and a proof of efficient and effective business systems. Buyers are likely to have an initial screening on the basis of the fit of the exporters’ product and price. The initial screening may be done off the basis of photos. Others will then have another level of screening in relation to:
  • Quality standards
  • Reliability of supply
  • Production volumes
  • Ability to interpret design briefs, etc.

There are other numerous technical and labelling requirements which impacts on hand loomed and hand woven articles. These relate to product safety and ensure accurate and fair information to consumers, so as to avoid deception.

1.Country of Origin Marking
The name of the country of origin should be marked in a conspicuous place as legible, indelible and permanently as the nature of article will permit. All wearing apparel items must be marked with the name of the country of origin by means of a fabric label. The label must say ‘Made in Kenya’. For Shirts, blouses, coats, sweaters, dresses and similar apparel, the label must be placed on the inside centre of the neck mid-way between the shoulder seams or in that immediate area. Trousers slacks, jeans and similar apparel must be marked by means of a permanent label affixed in a conspicuous location on the garment such as the inside of the waistband. The same applies to shorts, skirts and similar garments.

2.Textile Fibre identification

This shows the fibre content (by percentage, by weight), the fibre name (e.g. spandex, cotton, wool, etc.), by trademark names (e.g. Lycra, Spandex, Tencil), the name of the origin of the fibre. The fibre content may be stated on the reverse side of a label

3.Care Instructions Labelling

This label describes the regular care instructions such as washing (by hand or machine, water temperature), drying (By machine or other method, drying temperature), bleaching, warnings (e.g. wash separately, do not iron), ironing and dry cleaning of the fabric or garment. The label must be placed conspicuously on garment, on a hangtag and on package.

4.Size Labels
Women’s clothes have three ranges of sizes, missy (size 2-18 even numbers for women of average proportions and height), junior (size 1-15 odd numbers for youthful, short and slim women), and women (14W-24W for fuller matured figures of average height).
Men’s’ clothes follow symbols such as XS, S, M, XL and XXL.
Infant sizes range from 3-24months. The age of the infant is used along with the NB (New Born), S, M, L and XL to denote size.
Children’s sizes range from 2T -5T for Toddlers, 4-6X for girls, and 4-7 for boys.

Once all the above requirements are fulfilled, an exporter can choose to engage in direct exporting or indirect exporting. In direct exporting, the exporter sends the products to the logistics handler then the products can be marketed to various retails outlets. In indirect exporting, the exporter sends the goods to an importer who then sells to wholesalers who then sells to retail outlets.

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