By DERRICK SILIMINA
Patience Mukoloma of Solwezi is a tailor brimming with a passion to start a fashion design school and a poultry run.
At 29, Mukoloma from Messenger Township is trained in tailoring and design and her product line includes dresses, trousers, shirts, school uniform, shorts, and face masks among others.
Against all odds, Mukoloma raised an initial capital of K500 to start selling tomatoes, dry fish and vegetables at the market.
“From my humble beginnings as a marketeer in 2018, I raised K600 and paid tuition for my tailoring short course and after I got the skills, I again used K900—part of my earnings as a marketeer which I then invested in the tailoring business,” Mukoloma explains.
“In 2019, I started my tailoring business and allocated my K900 as initial capital and purchased a second hand sewing machine at K400 and spent K500 on materials such as fabric and thread.”
Geared to kickstart her business, Mukoloma’s first shop was located in Kazomba area, which she used free of charge. However, early this year Mukoloma and relocated to Messengers market since February 2021, where they are renting a shop for K300 per month.
“Despite a slowdown in business owing to disturbances brought about by Covid-19, my business is operating at a reasonable pace. I hope that the situation will soon come to normal again to begin experiencing greater sales volumes.”
She notes that some products on high demand include children’s dresses, jumpsuits and lady’s dresses.
Mukoloma affirms that most of the proceeds from the business go towards reinvestment, while an allowance of K1000 is drawn per month to be shared between the two partners.
With her enterprise presently worth K3000 and recording profit margins of 50 per cent, Mukoloma plans to advertise her products and services on radio. She also intends to engage in one-on-one advertising since she acquires most of the clothing material from within Solwezi.
“My near future plans are to open a tailoring training centre for others to benefit. Fees will be at K600 for six months because the demand for this course has proved to be high in her area,” she noted.
In pursuing a business diversification agenda, Mukoloma has also registered another enterprise called Kulokela Poultry Farm and this was done recently during a business clinic sponsored by Kansanshi Mining Plc and implemented by Fortune World Investments. She is confident that her compliance with PACRA and ZRA is up to date, and that her business acumen has been sharpened by key lessons learned, which includes record-keeping which involves monitoring stocks, income and expenditure.
“This system is helping me to monitor business performance because my ultimate goal is to start a poultry farm in the next two years since I have already bought a farm using revenue from the tailoring business,” she notes.
Moving forward, Mukoloma hints that she now needs advanced training in tailoring and designing in order to enhance her knowledge for business expansion in that business unit.
Mukoloma said with help to enable her to supply products such as face masks to large institutions, she can grow her business further as all kinds of uniform could also be supplied if orders are secured.
“I look forward to an opportunity to supply police uniform, army uniform and other garments,” she states.
She thanks Kansanshi Mining Plc for the business training and calls for trainees to be aided to enter into contracts and orders with various corporate institutions and government departments.
The Fortune World mentoring team has urged Mukoloma to team up with other women to form a cooperative to tap into new opportunities.