Using social media to woo customers

She has overcome the trials of joblessness to become her own employer before graduating from university. The 23-year-old Sanyu Racheal Tusiime uses social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to find market for her African prints.Tusiime, who is also yet to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree from Makerere University School of Industrial Art in January next year, is already earning some money from her fashion skills. “I started making my own designs after my elder sister, Elizabeth Ahabwe and dad bought me an electronic sewing machine,” says Tusiime during an interview with Prosper magazine. Her breakthrough, she says, came in January this year when clients started bringing Ankara fabrics and other materials to her for commercial purposes. “My elder sister is the one who was buying material at first for my practice. I was making for her dresses and then posting the pictures on Instagram – a social network for only pictures,” says Tusiime whose workshop is at her former hostel room in Wandegeya. Tusiime says that she makes an average profit of Shs600,000 from her orders in a good month. However, she is challenged by lack of some machines and materials.“I hunt for some materials from down town Kampala and also take some pieces for finishing,”she says.She is currently working with a second year fashion design student at Makerere University, Eric Mayemba who is also doing his internship at her workshop. “Eric takes measurements for my clients depending on the type and size of their outfit choices. Tusiime charges Shs80,000 for men’s shirts when she buys the material herself but when a client comes with his material she only charges Shs40,000 for labour. Her designed dresses range from Shs150,000 to Shs180,000 depending on the design. Tusiime says it takes her only two days to make a shirt. “I get about four orders in a week and I market my clothes through my twitter handle Fashion-Addict0 both on twitter and Instagram,” says Tusiime.According to Tusiime, the sewing machine was purchased at Shs400,000.“I earned my first pay of Shs40, 000 after making a dress for my sister,” says Tusiime adding that she only charged her for labour. Her passion for fashion design developed in senior two when watching fashion television shows. “To be exact, Kimora Lee Simmons Fashion Show show entitled: ‘Life in the fab-lane’ inspired me,” says Tusiime. Tusiime studied at St Lawrence College for both her Ordinary and Aanced levels where she chose Fine Art as her favourite subject after realising it was her talent.“I continued with Fine Art up to university and I chose to major in fashion in my second year.” Tusiime says her skills were developed as early as first year when she was doing a part-time training at Everafter Fashion House. “I worked there and did my internships there as well,” adds Tusiime.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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