• Starting the business was not easy
• Tambara has been using small profits to boost her business
• We need to empower ourselves, be self-sufficient
For a long time, women have remained in the background working mainly as support staff, yet playing a huge role in many businesses.
In the area of shoe making, men have dominated the field with women mostly working as support staff and seen as just customers.
Yet, some women have managed to break into male dominated fields to claim their space.
March is women’s month and a time to focus on women’s achievements and successes in different spheres of life.
The Herald caught up with a 20-year-old Gail Takudzwa Tambara from Domboshava who has broken the odds in the male dominated field of shoe, handbag and satchel making.
At a time, other young ladies her age are thinking of getting married and starting their own families, Tambara is trying to expand her business.
Young as she is, Tambara has made a mark in the business of making handbags, satchels and ladies’ sandals.
“I started sawing handbags and shoes during the first lockdown period last year in July after I saw a lady selling the handbags. I wanted to buy the handbag but when I discovered that the handbags were hand sewn, I developed an interest on how this was done,” she said.
Tambara said at first, the lady was reluctant to teach her, but she later agreed.
“She taught me how to design the handbag only for a day,” said Tambara.
She narrated that the lady taught her to sew the handbag only but now she can also make ladies’ sandals and satchels.
“I taught myself to sew the ladies’ sandals and satchels. I download some of the patterns that I use from the internet.
Some come from my imagination. I try to keep abreast with the new patterns trending in the world,” she added.
Tambara did not have any knowledge of hand sawing the handbags, but because of determination and courage she managed to do so.
She said starting the business was not “easy and rosy” as she did not have the capital to buy the materials.
However, her supportive mother sponsored her to buy materials.
“Prices of the items range differently depending on how big the item is. The cheapest handbags and satchels cost US$20 whilst the cheapest pair of sandals costs US$4,” she revealed.
With her business still in its infancy, Tambara said it is growing steadily. She added that she has been using the profits to boost the business into one big enterprise.
During workshops and meetings, Tambara interacted with young people doing different projects. This helped boost her confidence and knowledge about running a successful business.
The young lady highlighted that accessing markets and also equipment is a huge challenge.
“Currently business is low as a result of the lockdown phase. I also do not have a proper market hence I sell the wares in the local community and to places I travel like workshops, churches or any gatherings,” said Tambara.
“For me to perfectly do my job I need heavy industrial machines to make some shoe soles.”
The sky is not even the limit as she wants to have her own company and even a school to teach other women and youths.
“I want to achieve great things through hand sewing. One-day I would like to open my own company which will have all the machinery needed for sewing these items.
My wish is to export these items to other countries and employ other people,” she said.
“My greatest hope is seeing other women and young girls venturing into such kind of business.
I would like to teach other ladies who want to learn to sew handbags, sandals and satchels.”
Tambara hopes to find a market where she can supply her products.
She also needs a permanent workshop from where she can do her job as currently she is working from her parents’ place.
Tambara encouraged other women to venture in different projects despite the obstacles.
“In business we face many challenges, but as women we should never give up but need to persevere. It is not easy as sometimes we face competition and stigma that means we need to work hard in order to produce the best,” she added.
She urged other women to venture into different income generating projects.
“As women we need to help one another. Make use of your hands as there is money in your hands.
We need to empower ourselves, be self-sufficient. Be your own boss wherever you are,” she said.