Baby steps grow stitch by stitch

BUDDING seamstress Mampho Makana, 25, hopes to grow her sewing business which she started earlier this year – but it is a skill she did not even know she had until she received training at The Hope Factory in Port Elizabeth.

The Hope Factory, an enterprise development company which helps potential and existing entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, is where Makana received sewing, beading and paper crafts skills training, as well as business mentoring.

“I didn’t even know I could sew. My gran used to sew, but it was never something I paid attention to or thought I could do,” Makana said.

Today the young woman from Kwazakhele makes baby shoes and clothes, as well as traditional wear for all age groups and alterations.

“Although I make a wide range of clothing items, I enjoy making baby clothes and the shoes the most,” Makana said.

She realised her flair for needlework when a cousin introduced her to The Hope Factory.

“When I couldn’t find work, I did a nursing course at Pier 14, but my cousin suggested I visit The Hope Factory across the road as the training was for free.”

The Hope Factory supports, equips and develops previously disadvantaged South Africans to establish and grow their own businesses.

“At The Hope Factory, I received skills training for sewing, beading and paper crafts, and after that I worked for a few people who make clothes,” she said.

“I began working for a lady who makes baby shoes and in the process I learnt how to make them myself.”

Makana, who often has to work at The Hope Factory to fulfil bigger orders, has big plans for her new business.

Her clientele is slowly growing with orders from parents and grandparents, her main customers.

“I hope to grow the business and focus exclusively on making baby clothes, and eventually open my own boutique and factory to make the clothes.”

At the moment, Makana works on her orders for individual customers from home.

“My customers often give me specific instructions of what they want on the shoes. Because of this, I also can’t buy too much material. I have to buy it in bits and pieces, because one customer might want a different colour material or without decorations on the shoes.”

However, if she could buy the material in bulk, it would cost her less than buying smaller pieces.

Further information on the Hope Factory on (041) 484-7400.

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