My Sunday was not spent languishing at home but exploring the creative journey of a number of amazing individuals who had taken that initial step to create something unique and market it to the masses despite umpteenth challenges. A visit to CCC with its weekend bazaars was something out of a story book. While my main aim was to speak to some of the vendors, I could not stop myself from purchasing the beautiful trinkets on display.
Sleep in perfect peace
My first stop was at a colourful display of bed linen and towels set up by Dharika, a young mother who had tapped into her love for stitching and developed a brand which is aptly called, ‘Sweet Dreams’. Through her SME which started a few years ago, she has touched the hearts of many children and adults too as her bed spreads are made to order with a collection of ready-made items made out of child-friendly material and Egyptian cotton.
Echoes of a rich tradition
Strolling ahead I saw the most exquisite ‘beeralu’ designs, which stopped me in my tracks. Passed down by the Portuguese settlers and mastered by the southerners, beeralu weaving is a craft which is traditionally passed from mother to daughter. Through her enterprising efforts, Priyani who hails from Matara followed in her mother’s footsteps has created many job opportunities for a number of ladies in her vicinity. While the shadow work is done by the younger ones, the Beeralu lace work is by often done by the older generation. Buying these lace works is a benevolent effort as it feeds many families. “To weave one yard takes about a day,” said she to my amazement.
Pathma from Gampaha, a recipient of the 2017 ‘Women Entrepreneur of the Year’ award in the Micro category was another fascinating lady who started learning the art of weaving fifteen years ago when her sons were young. Subsequently, she had started producing a few items but her career had taken wing due to her eldest son’s (who graduated as a Software Engineer) encouragement and motivation. Five years ago she had opened a stall at the Good Market and came to Colombo with trepidation but her son insisted that she continue. “I want my journey to inspire other women to venture out on their and make use of their talents.”
Nerush started designing her own clothes because she did not want to look like her daughter’s elder sister. “Eventually my daughter, who identified the demand for these clothes publicized it on social media. Her brand is coined from her husband’s and children’s initials.
Tantalize your taste-buds
While browsing through the items my children stumbled upon a stall displaying 100% natural and vegan pickles, spreads and sauces and they were hooked. Upon inquiring further, I found out that the products have been expertly concocted by a young entrepreneur, Denusha who is a qualified Marketeer and had been in the advertising field prior to realizing her potential to produce her own brand which tantalizes the taste buds.
Cashew drink, a creative concoction by a graduate hailing from Bandarawela who produces many more wonders with cashew as a hobby is another amazing product.
Enhancing beauty the natural way
Kanchana from Delgoda had researched on the harmful effects of chemical infused cosmetics and the ancient beauty regimes followed which were more beneficial to the health of the user. Eventually, the government officer decided to leave her comfort zone and pursue her dream of creating natural personal care products which are enriched by local herbs and plants.
An enterprising lady from Moratuwa who had been supplying her home made products at church feasts and family functions. These platforms have given her an opening to market her creations to larger customer base.
Allahamma’s vibrant handlooms
Allahaamma from Batticaloa had learned the art of creating handloom sarees which are bold and vibrant and certainly eye-catching.
A genuine love for art and nature inspired Malith to use recycled products and indoor plants to create unique potted plants and decors for everyday use which are soothing and refreshing and can be displayed at home or office.
Plant – a –gift
Fyto which means plant in Greece is a cactus and succulent plant based hobby which had transpired into a business endeavour by a young IT professional. Having gained a knack for planting which she has inherited from her mother, the beautiful gardener said, “It gives me immense pleasure to nurture the plants and see it grow.”
Herbal soap treasures
Gayathri, from Panadura, a Banker by profession gave rise to her love for making soap from the herbs and spices.
Ornate popsicle stick designs
Geetha who hails from far off Kekirawa and lives in Colombo after marriage had used her free time during her pregnancy to develop ornate deigns using popsicle sticks which are bought in bulk form and are truly fascinating.
‘Flavour It’ is another product born out of necessity and hardship by Nadeera, a wife and mother who had to resign from her workplace to look after her ill husband. This led her to learn a skill at Vidatha, a workshop conducted by the Provincial Council and embark on a flavourful enterprise.
Sit down massage therapy
The shopping spree ended on a high note with a much needed massage to relieve the tension in the muscles. Having learnt the art through a Japanese Master, the masseuse provide a much needed rejuvenation to both body and spirit.
Inspired and enriched
As the day drew to a close, I went home enriched with a wealth of inspiration. I noticed that each and every one had tears in their eyes while they related their personal journey to me. These are not mere businesses but inspirational stories that give us hope.