Lifestyle

Meet Mutaharugo who turned fashion into a cash cow

As the old adages goes ‘hard work pays’ success also comes always after efforts are being sufficed and profitability of an entrepreneur depends on his ability to always search for opportunities, respond and exploit them.

The thought has been borrowed well by 24 -year-old entrepreneur, Tina Mutaharugo founder of Ibyiwacu Fashion Design.

Operating at city center of Kigali city near Muhima Hospital dwellers are calling her as a young blood who is going to bring changes in fashion.

Even at her youthful age, nothing has stopped this young designer to turn her profession into a cash cow.

Start-ups

She survived 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi where she lost all parents and relatives. Her resilience and hard work, however, saw the lady’s rise up from this tragedy picking the pieces to earn a living and improve her livelihood.

“I a m nor suffering like other youth looking for unemployment neither do I look for any job to earn a living despite the harsh situations I passed through a survivor,” she says.

After finishing her high school she joined Universite Libre de Kigali and pursued Economics and Business courses.

“From the tender ages I loved business this pushed me to major in Economics at the university after attaining high school on the support of the FARG that my school from lower level to senor six,” she said.

She says she could always do individual research on fashion and industry behind the inspiration of the Rwandan role models in the sector like Katy bashabe, Sonia Mugabo and Chantal uwizeyimana

She says the Rwandan initiative of banning second hand clothes was also a pushing factor to bridge the gap manufacturing industry.

After realizing that the country needs locally made clothes i ventured my life into full time designer in fashion, she says.

Achievement

She argues that fashion has helped her get the basic needs she wanted like transportation, clothing, rent and essential needs without looking financial help from anyone else.

“I earn the profits on monthly basis and it’s where I manage to get the payment of the rent of my commercial house at Muhima where my shop is located,” she says.

My house fetches profits Rwf1.5 million a month from different clientele especially those who are going to have wedding ceremonies and companies who wants logo T-shirts.

She managed to conduct special stands and exhibitions at car free zone, Kigali city, camp Kigali and car park Inn.

“I exploited these stands where I managed to get Rwf 3 million from those exhibitions further more my clothes has been used by performers last year at Ubumuntu annual festival that brings different artists from around the world to kigali to showcase their art,” she says.

She says fashion is growing steadily and able to employ 10 permanent staffs where each of them is paid Rwf 50,000 as a salary.

Advice to the youth

They should always act and implement as they take risks to know if you will succeed or fail when aren’t started.

She added that formal education limits the creation of jobs. However, that the informal ones also arouse the skills of entrepreneurship.

“They should read, innovate and go to the field to ask people who have been doing business for some time,” she says.

Challenges

Mutaharugo a young business woman, says, the competitors have already conquerence the market. However, that penetrating the business of fashion at first time is not simple job especially when you are just starting up and clients are not familiar with you.

“Despite the stiff competition in the sector building a trust and confidence among clients takes time,” she said.

Lack of materials is a Great challenge which most of them cost high machines that is bought on Rwf 2 Million and fabrics which are on 50,000 selling prices.

Future plans

I have hopes that in the near future i will be attending international exbhitions abroad showcasing made in Rwanda products continentally or globally.

“I don’t see many Rwandan entrepreneurs’ going abroad to sell their products and I want to break the record to be among of the first few women products outside Rwandan markets,” she says.

She is dynamic businesswoman who always wants progress than being static with innovative and creative dynamic ideas as a result she wants to open other fashion houses.

“Since I’m a member of the syndicate of all fashion designers co-operatives I expect my dreams to come true as they will be supporting me either financially or morally,” she says.

Her-products

Her company Ibyiwacu Fashion is now 2 years since its establishment and sells mainly both women and men’s clothing, caps made of Bitenge, necklace, girls dresses, men and women bitenge trousers and shirts, hats made of fibres, beads, jackets and costumes.

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