Today’s feature of Sierra Leone young entrepreneurs; is our very own Miss Jeneba Ruth Silvalie. Who actually turns her passion into a business. As a young girl, she loved beads and as she sees people around her doing beadwork she will stop, stare and observe. She had never gone through any formal bead training. It’s her gift, her talent, she said! so she started doing the beadwork for herself and some of her friends if there is an event they need to attend. Until she sat to the wassce and was unable to get the requirement; the five credit needed to enter university. She finally started looking at the business side of her passion for the first time. She does all her bead and craftwork herself and sells on wholesale to other retailers. She is not outsourcing any of her work and that why she takes pride in what she does.
She watches a lot of you tubes videos to look for what’s trending in the bead world and will incorporate that into her beadwork. She says her line of business needs a constant update of herself and her work. She sells her items to her fellow student for competitive prices to attract them and to get them to keep buying from her and give referrals. As a student, she needs her transport and upkeep money and that strategy has been working for her. Most of her plans had been stalled or put on hold, so she can concentrate on her school work, after which she will focus on what next for her business.
Coming from a humble background, she had no one to help her pay for a re-sit of the wassce. She had to make the decision to turn her beadwork into a business. She went to the market with just Le 10,000 bought some beads and start her business, as she needed money to take care of herself and see herself through school. With just Le 10,000 she had been able to pay for herself to retake the wassce, this time she got her five credit and she is currently at The Fourah Bay College University of Sierra Leone studying.
She buys most of her input materials in Freetown, few times she had bought materials online and she had made friends who are in the same business that helps her out if she needs any material that is not found in Freetown. These networks of people in the bead business had worked for her, and her relationships with them had been yielding fruits. Some of these friends will bring the gift of beads for her when they traveled out of the country to source raw materials. This has been a major blessing to her and her business. One major drawback is the accessibility to original or quality attachment and lockers for her necklaces, sandals, bracelet to give them that fine finish. Any counterfeit material can cause damage to the business as they might; react on the client skin, fade easily and lose their shine, or cause skin rash and allergies. So far she has been sourcing good materials to avoid these issues but it has not been easy.
In the next few years, she would want to establish a school in Sierra Leone for art and craft. Where she would teach the art of bead making or embedding beads into products to other young Salone people. Part of the school will have a showroom of some of the work of the students. She is also interested in working with disabling and beggars, by empowering them so they leave the street and be self-dependant.
Her advice to young people like herself especially young girls is that they should get involved in whatever in their heart that they are passionate about. They should stop procrastinating and take the first step, that eventually everything will fall into place. Sleeping with men, promiscuity is never an option or excuse for poverty and hardship. She presently trains young people who want to learn the bead-making process for free. She said she believes in the quote that says ” from the small beginning comes big end”. Young girls should be content and avoid peer pressures. There are no easy way out or free ride. They should work the talk and be patient.
As a citizen of Sierra Leone, our job is to support young entrepreneurs like Jeneba of Bead Up. Buying from her means we are actually helping her build her dreams and helping Sierra leone economically. That money we spend on her product stays within our country. So let’s make it our obligation to support her and her bead business. She can be reached on the following numbers; +23278882055/ +23277993239
©By Rahima Vandy-Kargbo