Florence and Her Sewing Business

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Florence Buarobo displaying two blouses that she made at her stall at the Honiara Central market.

BY JOY OFASIA

IN Solomon Islands today, many women brought in a low but steady income if their husband’s earnings are not enough to sustain the livelihood and financial well being of their family. For Florence Buarobo; her sewing business is to support and sustain her family basic social and economic needs. For now, this cloth business is for the survival of my children

Florence Buarobo lives in Honiara and sells her product at the Honiara Central Market.

  •  Brief background about yourself.

My name is Florence Buarobo. I come from Malaita province and married with six children.

  • Brief Background about your Business

My little business as I would say is sewing of clothes mainly for women and girls blouses and dresses. The products have been sewed at my house using my sewing machine and being bought to the market to sell.

I started this little business in 2015.

  • Who are your targeted audience?

Well the people I target as customers are women and girls. This is because most clothes I sew are only for women, young girls and little girls.

  • What motivated you into sewing?

I am one of the women that have not had the chance to go into education. All I did was stayed at home and worked in the garden helping my parents in my home village in Malaita. When I got married, I moved to Honiara with my family and all I did was sewing little clothes for my children because it was my passion. Later, I realised that I could use this talent to help my husband to support my family.

  • Why have you decided to become a market vendor?

I am a house wife and have no job. In my family only my husband works for the family’s needs and wants. Seeing this, I realise that I had to do something, so what I did was I sold clothes which was bought from the second hand clothing’s and resell them.

But later I realised that I had the talent that I could use to earn money so I decided to use the talent. I started sewing blouses and decided to sell them at the central market.

A dress made by Florence.
  • Who has been your greatest influence in this small business?

My sisters were the biggest influence to me. Growing up together and watching them every day motivated me into sewing. Now as a mother, my two sons and daughters also took the skill of sewing from me.

  • What is one thing you have learnt as a market vendor and that has served you well over the few years?

One thing that I learnt as a market vendor is to be honest with my own market and be faithful and honest at all times to produce new products.

The market has helped my family a lot over the past years since it started. It helped with my children’s school fees and other family needs.

  • What challenges and difficulties have you faced as a market vendor and a mother at the same time?

Challenges I face is that I find it sometime there is no one to help in taking turns in looking after the market so that I could continue on sewing more clothes.

  • What is one of the goal that you would like to achieve over the next year?

What I wish to achieve the next year is to own a little shop that I would be able to display my products in and also have a space in it to sew.

  • What is a best advice that you wish to share with readers?

For house wives, do not depend on your husband’s money. You must help to contribute in any way to earn money to support your family.

  • What is your view to the government to help women in the informal sector?

Women need good leaders that will recognise uneducated mothers to help in a way to start their own markets and little businesses. Many mothers do not have the money to start their markets off with. A call to good leaders is to recognise women like us.

  • Anything else that you would like to share?

Would like to encourage women and girls to involve in small business to help improve the standard of living for their families.