This inspiring entrepreneur grew her business from 1 employee to 23. She is the proud owner of Qualicloth, a handcrafted textile company in Tanzania.
Two sewing machines. One employee. Tiny premises. That was all Renalda Lema had when she started her business, Qualicloth, in 1991. Cut to 2009, and Renalda owns one of the most thriving and successful tailoring businesses in the whole of Tanzania.
Where before her business consisted of just her and one other tailor, there are now twenty three full-time employees, who do everything from designing and weaving to tailoring. As a result of this growth, Renalda has invested in new machinery, as well as a slick new workshop. While the business started out relatively small, Qualicloth rapidly expanded through word of mouth.
Renalda now has frequent bulk orders from schools, which brings in a large amount of revenue. Qualicloth is also in the process of opening up a new workshop which will sell handcrafted textiles to variety of customers ranging from large scale institutions to tourists One of the greatest achievements of Qualicloth is the job opportunities it has created in Tanzania.
While fabrics these days tend to be shipped from the Far East, Renalda realised that more and more people were looking for tailor-made products. She now uses local Tanzanian cotton, as well as Tanzanian spin yarn, which not only results in special fabrics but creates employment while also benefitting the country and the local economy in the process.
She believes in the philosophy of getting what you pay for. So while the clothing may not be cheap, the customers are more than willing to pay for the exceptional quality. After all, she called her business Qualicloth for good reason.
“My aim is not only to sell and get money, but also for a person to use my idea and use what I planned to make.” – Renalda Lema
What’s in store for her future? In Renalda’s eyes, more employees and increased quality clothing to satisfy the growing demand. She wants her unique product to be found in every store and in every household. While this might seem ambitious, if one looks at how far Qualicloth has come since its conception, it is certainly achievable.