Wisdom Exchange TV with host Suzanne F Stevens presents: Philippa Reiss Thorne | Gone Rural





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Published on Sep 21, 2012

Exchange Release Date September 18, 2012 on
Subscribe FREE today: Receive alerts on the latest Leading Lady Wisdom delivered directly to your inbox. Wisdom Exchange tv is a HOW TO site. Wisdom Exchange tv provides 'Leadership Lessons' & 'Words of Wisdom' amongst the many strategies and tactics to be successful in your field. African women trailblazers, pioneers and leaders of many will provide insights into their areas of expertise and leadership strategies to inspire, stretch and develop your ability to learn, lead and succeed in life, career and community.

Words of wisdom: "Know your inner power and strength. We are worthy of success"

Philippa Reiss Thorne, Managing Director Gone Rural, Swaziland

Since 2007, UK native and London's Central St. Martins School of Art & Design graduate Philippa Reiss Thorne has served as Managing Director of renowned Swaziland-based sustainable home décor company Gone Rural. Arriving in Southern Africa as a volunteer in 2001, Thorne quickly became the firm's Creative Director, a post she held for 4 years, before elevating to her current position. Instrumental in building the venture to include a stable of more than 760 rural women (each of whom support an average of eight dependants), Thorne's entrepreneurial spirit, creative vision, and production/marketing experience has engendered the company's stunning commercial growth without compromising its focus on sustainability and tradition. During her tenure she has doubled business turnover, quadrupled artisan incomes, and fostered a positive economic impact on Swaziland's rural communities by enabling women to earn money while maintaining their customary lifestyle.

Thorne is the creative architect behind a wide range of unique handcrafted products hewn from natural and recycled materials that are sold in over 200 stores worldwide and in 2011 generated 6 million rand ($800,000 USD; 600,000 EURO) in sales. The line has expanded from its initial focus on home accessories to include distinctive handbags and wearable art. Distinguished by the harmonious fusion of contemporary sensibilities and time-honored techniques, the innovative products have been spotlighted in numerous design shows and publications such as Elle Décor and House & Leisure.

A recipient of the "2011 International Alliance for Women 100 Award" for her efforts in economically empowering women, Thorne also engineered the founding of Gone Rural boMake, a non-profit that supports the artisans, their dependents and communities through health and education programs. "I am committed to uplifting individuals and communities through a philosophy of fair trade and altruism," she says. "I believe in the synergy between profit and not-for-profit organizations to promote financial sustainability for artisans while also assisting with the basic infrastructural needs of remote communities."

A Swaziland-based Fair Trade Organization (FTO) was named best SMME in Africa in the trade category by Africa Growth Institute, an organization that focuses on growth opportunities in Africa.

Recent awards

2011 Winner TIAW World of Difference 100 Awards; 2008 & 2009 SARCDA -- product award - Gone Rural; 2003-2009 SARCDA Stand Design Excellence for 7 consecutive years - Gone Rural



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