Wendy – Marketing Lab Volunteer!

27 Apr

Clementine

Clementine discovered her passion for floral arrangement only recently, but is taking big steps to expand her newly named business—Fruit of the Spirit Floral. I helped Clementine with her florist resume, which was something that was new to me, having never made an artists resume before. We searched online for other Florists resume examples, as well as their websites.

We talked about the necessity of photography in the development of her business, as she has very few pictures of the work that she has done.  With more photographs of her work, I believe she can really start expanding her business—starting a Facebook page or even her own website could act as a portfolio of her work.

When talking about potential markets she could explore, she had a lot of wonderful ideas. As she is not 100 percent comfortable with fresh flower arrangements yet (she plans on taking classes this summer), for now she will concentrate on silk flower arrangements. With this, you can market people who have allergies to flowers. Silk arrangements are also very cost effective, as you can keep the flowers for long periods of time without having to replace them. Clementine felt that hotels and even funeral homes would be attracted to this idea, and I think those would be excellent venues to pursue.

Again, another sweet and intelligent women with a real talent. EWI is an amazing organization.

Mariam

Mariam has been in the United States for 5 years. She has spent the majority of her life in Tanzania, where she attended school and raised her son. Mariam decided to purse her dream of making crafts full-time, hence her move to the States. “The challenges of working and exporting from a developing country were quite difficult,” she said.

Mariam is sweet, obviously intelligent, and passionate. I admire her excitement, and how she is continually looking for ways to improve her business.

Her beautiful handbags are made out of Kanga, a traditional cloth decorated and worn by Swahili women. The cloth has evolved since its conception in the 19th century, when women used to draw the designs by hand. The original Kangas were inspired by the African bird, a Guinea Fowl (pictured below), now also known as the Kanga bird. The birds’ intricate feather pattern and bright beak make it unique to other birds. Today, the Kanga cloth Mariam uses is made in a textile factory in Tanzania.

Both men and women in Tanzania wear Kanga cloth, but the men would never wear it in public (only inside their homes). Women use it as a cover-up, for their babies, to clean, etc. It is a part of their life. And that is what Mariam is trying to share with us, a part of her culture.

“This cloth reminds me of childhood, youth, womanhood, my mother, aunties, grandmothers, neighbors, events, celebrations, politics, sports, Swahili phrases, and friends, friends, friends,” Mariam said.

It was so interesting to learn about Kanga and what an impact it has had on Mariam’s life, as well as others.  I was so happy to meet her, and hear her inspiring story.

-Wendy

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