KARINA Paineitala was a happy woman during last week’s 2016 Solomon Islands Women In Business Association (SIWIBA) Awards night.
She went home with two awards.
Ms. Paineitala scooped the 2016 SIWIBA Member of the Year Award and the 2016 Outstanding Management and Leadership Award.
The first award recognizes a member’s positive drive and enthusiasm in pushing SIWIBA forward; supporting activities and programs organized by the Association and demonstrate consistent team spirit.
After her husband passed away seven years ago, this resilient woman became a member of SIWIBA and set about taking charge of her life.
Ms. Paineitala has been involved in every aspect of SIWIBA and slowly learned everything from the bottom up starting out with little things like housekeeping, coffee making and other small duties.
She said her first involvement with SIWIBA started in 2009 after her husband died and she knew about SIWIBA through her late sister, Freda Delight and Jocelyn Muga both of whom she followed when doing their work.
However, despite knowing Freda as the President and Jocelyn as the Secretary of SIWIBA at that time, Ms. Paineitala said she still did not fully understand what the association means as it was still new to her.
“ Most of the time, my late sister will call me so that we could go for a lunch with her colleagues and that was when I was introduced to women like Pamela Zoleveke, Wendy Kanai, JoylynLeolea and others. I can hear them talking about SIWIBA and I started to join them in several meetings. As a follower my interest started to grow,” she said.
In 2011, SIWIBA elected its first board members and an office was set up at the Tongs Building at Point Cruz on temporary basis.
It was then that Katrina started helping out in the office carrying out small duties as was requested by the board.
“I availed myself to do anything such going to find lunch during their meetings and other small duties. In early 2012 when the office was fully operational, I was appointed to do the house keeping and I love it despite the little income,” she said.
Ms. Paineitala said she was then involved in getting across whatever office information and hand delivered them to other offices and organizations.
As she started getting familiar with SIWIBA, Ms. Paineitala said she also reached out and encouraged other friends to join and become members of the women association.
However, she said despite her involvement with SIWIBA, her business on floral and catering already existed.
“In early 2012 I registered and become a full financial member of SIWIBA and it added more bonus especially after attending SIWIBA training workshops on Catering and Business management.
“ Besides that, I also provided catering for SIWIBA, especially during workshops and continued with floral art when requested by SIWIBA or other clients,” she said.
“ SIWIBA has helped a lot especially in motivating me to continue my business, and as a result my business on floral art also expanded until such time when I decided to fully concentrate on my business and withdrew from working in the SIWIBA office.”
But Ms. Paineitala said despite her withdrawal, she kept going to the office and assisted them in any of their organized programs such as preparing stalls and set up for Mere’s Market and other important events.
During the awards night, Ms Paineitala was described as a woman who always invested her time and effort in making SIWIBA great since the early days and now she has set about taking care of her own business.
She has proven to be persistent in her learning and it is starting to pay-off.
In an interview with Solomon Women Newspaper, Ms Paineitala said the most important aspect of such is the love, passion, and right attitude towards the business.
“ My driving force is right attitude, love, and passion to do my business on flower. These qualities should set some clear picture of what a person who never attended higher education can achieve,” she said.
She explains that her passion for her business started off through one of her late sister, who was a great flourish lady who also loves flowers.
“ I have never attended any training or workshops on flower arrangement except by looking and learning from my late sister, Freda Delight who was a lady who love flowers and her attitude towards flowers has also encouraged me.
“Sister Delight who I treated as my mentor used to be one of the great floral art ladies who usually took me with her whenever she went to prepare her flower arrangements and I leant a lot from her,” she added.
Ms. Paineitala said as an Agriculture officer at that time, her late sister also explained what plants and flowers are and their values and that was how her knowledge on flowers started to expand.
“ Not only that but my mother was also an encouraging person to me and I followed her footsteps on how to grow and arrange beautiful flowers,” she said.
After growing her commercial interests by selling flowers at the market, she then formally registered her business and taking on big clients such as the ANZ Bank, Heritage Park Hotel and others.
Ms Paineitala said even when her garden is unable to provide for the large number of orders, she is able to coordinate, and her strategic partnerships ensure continued access to the supply she needs.
“ Sometimes I face challenges when it comes to big orders, especially when my garden could not manage to cater for those orders.
“During such times, I could buy flowers from the market especially on weekends or I have to go around and buy from some of my friends who grow flowers,” she said.
She also trained family members to collect flowers for orders on her instruction and she has been able to help other families by lending money in exchange for flowers, which has also helped them to buy food for their families.
“ Not only that but my business also helps some families especially when there is a shortage of flowers. I go around to neighboring friends and lend them money in exchange for flowers. This has also helped them to buy little needs especially food for their meals,” she added.
She said she tries her very best not to fail any of her clients or customers when they placed their orders.
“ At some point they even call me very late in the evening to provide flower arrangements for the next morning, but I have to do it.
“ If I’m out of town, I call my family members at home to collect flowers but that has to be under my directives on which types of flowers and the quantity needed,” she said.
She said now that she has received an award, it’s a challenge for those like her who have lost their husbands, school dropouts and those who find it difficult to earn money to learn that nothing can stop anyone from doing good.
She said one only need to have love and passion for a particular interest like in her case the love for flowers.
“ Now that I have been awarded the Outstanding Management and Leadership Award for recognizing me as businesswomen who can provide everything for the family just because of flowers, this would help a lot of struggling mothers who have no access for money to see it as a testimony for them to know the importance of flowers and how it can provide their daily needs.
“After all the love and passion for flowers must be the key factor to those wishing to take up the flower business,” she added.
“ But my driving force is right attitude, love, and passion to make my business successful.”