When her father brought home a sewing machine from the South African mines in the early 70’s, Mmasekgoa Makosha did not think it would have an economic impact on her life.
Now more than 40 years after her father showed her how to use the machine, she has a thriving self financed textile business called Mummy’s Textiles in Gweta.
“At first I thought all I could do with the machine was mend clothes around the house but it was not to be.
A few months into using the machine I developed interest in making my own clothes.
I started off with a few skirts for myself and a few relatives. In a year I was making some clothes for my neighbours.
I went on to make shirts, dresses and trousers,” the married mother of five told Your Money at the National Culture Day in Nata where she was one of the exhibitors recently.
Quizzed on how she acquired sewing skills in less than a year she said, “I think it’s a natural thing.
All I have needed since then is just to see a garment in a shop, on a washing line or on somebody.
After seeing such a garment I would then have vision of it in my sleep and I would cut the pattern the next day and sew it together.
I have never been to a textile school.”
Her interest in business was bolstered when she lived with her cop husband in Francistown.
“By then my skill had improved and had with the help of my husband bought myself a sewing machine.
There was also more to copy in the shops and street in the town. I developed a large customer base in Francistown.
It was also at this time that I started making wedding and party dresses,” she said.
Wedding dresses and traditional attire are now the cornerstone of her business and word of mouth is her best mode of advertising fetching her orders from all over the country and beyond borders.
She said, “I get a lot of orders from people who have seen my clothes from others. Besides getting orders from as far as Gaborone, Molepolole and Lobatse I also get some order from South Africa.”
Makosha who has been running her business for more than twenty years has never received funding from government or any financial institution.
She said she managed because of prudent financial management, determination, commitment and help from her family.
“I saved whatever I made. My children and husband also helped. Anyone who wishes to make it in business must avoid the temptation to spend whatever they make.
Instead they must aim to make a enough profit first before they can even think of spending. Controlling your spending, hard work and doing what you love is the only way forward,” said Makosha who has managed to acquire two industrial sewing machines and to employ two people.
Her intention is to slowly but surely grow her business until it employs at least ten people.
The only challenge she faces is a limitation of a buying market in the rural Gweta area where most people are unemployed and rely on odd jobs and drought relief for cash.
“Lack of a disposable income in Gweta is a problem for my business but if you really want to do something you can regardless of where you are,” She said.