Leather craft by Josephine’s
Claudia Hangara a single mother of three children opened her business, Josephine’s Leather Works in 1997 naming it after her only daughter, Josephine.
Claudia explains that Josephine’s Leather Works is situated at the Namibia Craft Centre and sells a variety of arts, crafts and related products that are sourced locally. “Most of the products sold by the company are specially selected products that are handmade by women from rural areas,” she said.
She emphasized that she helps the women because they can not afford to pay the high rent charged by landlords for premises in the central business district of towns and cities visited by tourists. “Therefore Josesphine’s Leather Works offers an important distribution channel,” she added.
Her business mind developed early in her life when she used to help her mother sell vetkoek after school to make ends meet. “Even though I did not have the privilege to attend a tertiary institution to further my studies because of financial constrains, I am thankful for my mother for teaching me how to work with money, work with people and manage money,” she explained.
She currently employes four people, but she aims to grow bigger as a company and own her own craft coffee shop. “I advise women in business to always be prepared and to never be afraid to follow your dreams and do not give up on your dreams,” she advised stating that she loves owning her own business because she can make her own decisions. However, the down side of owning her own business is that people make their orders but they do not pay in time and sometimes not at all, she lamented.
Claudia does not only help rural women sell their products, but she goes out of her way to market their products at local, regional and international trade fairs and expositions. This way she has built up many contacts and established outlets locally and abroad.
“I have also started an organization called Kaimare Women, which means “stand up woman”, that offers women a chance to sell their products and to generate an income to cover the general necessities of rural or poverty stricken families,” she said adding that she started the organization because of the high unemployment rate and because women were asking her to market and sell their products. In this way, Josephine’s Leather Works has become very successful as a marketing channel for a very large group of rural women.