WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO
March for Mazuri was another amazing month and as our seamstresses gain more experience, their enthusiasm and joy continues to grow and can be seen in the work they produce.
Much of our business is a result of people finding us here on our website, or here, on our Etsy store. We even had one client who found our Etsy store and made a trip to our workshop when she was in town the same month, which was quite exciting for everyone! Word of mouth is also a great business generator, because people want to hire someone they can trust to make them good looking, quality items.
Last month, our women worked on finishing the orders of a local client who works with one of Kampala's main telecommunication companies. The order was large enough that items had to be delivered in shifts. Mapule (the client) is a happy, repeat customer (we love those!) and is graciously helping to build connections with her company for Girl Up Initiative Uganda's June 30th Charity Concert featuring internationally-acclaimed South African artist PJ Powers.
Andrea, an American who found our Etsy store, was visiting Uganda for a two week residential meeting and arranged in advance for a visit to our workshop to have multiple items made. She was excited about ordering a few clothes for herself and also getting to know the people who make the clothes. “For me, it was important first of all to get some clothes made, but also, to meet and interact with the real people” she commented on her first visit to the office. Look for a blog post from Andrea herself describing her experience with us in Kampala soon!
Her first lot of orders consisted of thirteen pieces (tops, dresses and tunics). She was taken to the market by our staff to help her navigate the congested and dizzying array of vendor stalls and quality of fabrics where she was able to choose the exact fabrics she liked herself. All the clothes were made wonderfully and fit her well. She was impressed with our staff and work, and we're grateful for her business and for sharing her time in our country with us.
Andrea also recommended Mazuri Designs to other people from the hotel she was staying at, who also placed orders for us to fill. These included a traditional outfit, dresses and blazers. She also ordered more clothes alongside the orders of the people she had recommended. Needless to say we were a bit overwhelmed by all the attention, excitement and quantity of orders, but we pulled it all off successfully and were happy to put our skills to the test! What helped most was scheduling with her in advance what she needed and when she'd be coming to our workshop, so we could plan ahead and make efficient use of everyone's time.
Casey, a volunteer at Girl Up Initiative Uganda, and her mother, also ordered custom bags and skirts which were quite pretty!
Please know that our Etsy store is just an example of the kind of work we can do, and is limited based on our stock in the US. Our team in Kampala can make almost any piece of clothing or accessory that you can imagine using African fabric, so the sky's the limit on what we can create for you.
Mazuri March achievements
During her first visit at the office, Andrea not only understood the mission and vision behind Mazuri Designs, but she also asked how she could offer additional support to our efforts, which was quite generous and thoughtful. As a token of appreciation for the work that the Mazuri team does and her love for women's economic independence, she donated 500USD to the enterprise, directed toward purchasing an extra electric sewing machine. She also mobilized her friends on Facebook to donate funds to further support Mazuri. From this informal crowdfunding campaign, they were able to fundraise over 1200USD to support Mazuri. Whoa!
During this period, our team of seamstresses was able to complete all client orders successfully and with utmost attention to detail. The quality of our products sets us apart from other seamstresses in town, which our clients notice and appreciate.
The Mazuri team is currently working on producing more accessories around the workshop for visitors to see as examples of our work, and for casual purchases when folks stop by. Maybe they'll see a handbag that will complete the outfit they're picking up that we made. Or see a pair of earrings that will make a great gift for their best friend. Having inventory on display will help our sales efforts and let people see our capabilities.
Our seamstresses are also working on completing uniforms for staff members that will be worn at a the upcoming benefit concert for our sister organization Girl Up Initiative Uganda. We also hope that by the time of the show, we will have many items for visiting teams.
Are you on Kampala and looking for a reliable workshop to get your accessories or clothing made? Schedule a visit today, you are welcome!