Lucy has also managed to occupy a specific market niche: “I’m the only one sewing a special kind of tunic needed by a religious group in town.” Since the start of her training, Lucy and her classmates have founded their own savings group. Her savings improved and in May 2018, she bought a sewing machine for CHF 230.
“I work in the open. That was a strategic decision. In this way, I can talk to clients who do not want to walk further into the market. When the weather is bad, I continue my work in the corridor of a nearby building,” Lucy remarks. “I believe that my talkative personality, quality work, and position in the market gets me more clients. I work hard to fulfil my clients’ expectations,” she adds. Today, Lucy is 25 years old and has four children. When orders are low, Lucy earns about CHF 50 a month. In a good month with a lot of orders, she can earn twice as much.
Lucy’s business continues to thrive, even during the pandemic. She has won numerous orders from international organisations to make face masks. “I’m selling facemasks to the community and to organisations. With just one order, I was able to make CHF 975.”
Lucy plans to set up a permanent stall at the front of the market and has already bought materials for that purpose. Once construction is complete, she will invest in a variety of fabrics, purchase an electric sewing machine, and hire employees of her own.
Lucy takes us through the process of creating one of her tunics.
As part of the package, the tunic comes with a matching custom-made scarf which is worn on the head and is the same colour as the main item.