Ditsele – Maun’s embroidery lady
In the heart of the tourist town of Maun, in LEA’s shell factories, is where Tshegofatso Grace Ditsele can be found. Ditsele is one of the few in the area who has been able to establish herself as a small business entrepreneur specializing in embroidery. She has been able to rope in big clients like political parties, churches, schools, safari companies as well as other small businesses in the tourism industry such as the likes of Thato Canvas; another small business in the area that specializes in making goods out of canvas.
Ditsele speaks of starting up a business as being no easy goal, she adds that, “I have always been good at sewing and when I decided to start up my business, I found it important to start it here in Maun although I am originally from Tonota but married in Mochudi. There is a market here for what I do and although it doesn’t make running a business any easy, if one follows the steps, business can thrive.” She started her embroidery business with funding from her household with no vision and was working with one machine from home with her sister and in 2010, with advice from LEA and funding from The Department of Youth and Culture, she was able to expand her business to get more industrial sewing machines and threads.
“Since the start of my business in 2009, there has been a lot of progress and growth. Not only do I have printing and embroidery machines but I have the right business skills which I acquired through several LEA workshops; Booking keeping, Customer Service, Business administration and others,” she says. Ditsele artistically applies her embroidery skills on t-shirts, bags, overalls for different stakeholders in Maun and surrounding areas and she has hopes of expanding her business further to Kasane and down south. “I want to target tourist areas because I have noticed that those are the areas with more work and a bigger market. A lot of foreigners are making money in the tourism industry and I just wish more Batswana could dominate and startup businesses to cater for these areas. A lot of our youth are talented in various fields but they are at home hoping to get jobs meanwhile their lives are on hold. So I encourage those who are talented to wake up and start using their hands to make money and support their families. I believe that as long as you have hands, feet and a brain, you can’t suffer, God gave us all these for a reason.”
She reveals that although business is growing, there are a few challenges, “we buy our threads outside the country because of lack of variety in Botswana so that is always a challenge when a customer suggests colors we don’t have. Another challenge is that we take our machines for maintenance as far as South Africa but I am just hoping that maybe someone will take advantage of that need here at home and save us the trouble of going that far.”