Originally from Tanzania, Mariam immigrated to the US a few years ago. The dream to own her own business has always been there, and Mariam set out with passion to turn that dream into a reality. Drawing on her extensive experience in working with textiles and sewing, Mariam decided to create unique handbags from Kanga cloth, a traditional fabric with a rich heritage, that originated along the coast of East Africa. Highly versatile, the Kanga is made from cotton and has bright, bold designs printed along the borders of the fabric. Not only known for its decorative role, in Eastern Africa the Kanga is used to send a message, similar to a greeting card in the Western culture.
Desiring to share her passion and love of the Kanga, Mariam started off by creating and selling her products at a local flea market. However, her sales did not increase as quickly as she had hoped for. Mariam recognized that what she needed was help in developing stronger marketing skills. “I was facing challenges in getting supplies and marketing issues. I needed help in marketing techniques and developing products.” As a result, Mariam applied for the ETS program that was being offered in Rockville, MD.
Throughout the course of the program, Mariam has continued to develop her business plan and through the workshops, defined her business more clearly. “It’s helped me to be more strategic in preparation of public relations and the use of marketing tools.” Over the period of the twelve week course, Mariam has worked on making Bahari Deco Crafts, more visible for the public eye, as well as promoting the sales for her handicrafts through her website
Written by: Sarah Bouwer