By An Executive Editor
Lydia Omunyokol, a final year student of Education (English language and literature in English) joined Makerere University in 2019. While on campus, like any other student, she needed some money for upkeep. The difference is that she chose to make this money herself. That’s how Omunyokol ended up at a craft-making workshop in Wandegeya, a walkable distance from her hostel. Initially, she bought a pair at Shs 13, 000 and sold at Shs 20, 000 depending on the material. However, after earning trust from the business owner, she now picks and pays the business’ cut after making sales. On top of this, she also acquired the skill.
In the Q and A below, she tells her story…
Question: What do you call the craft-making business that you are in?
Answer: It’s just a side hustle. Because professionally, I am a teacher. I teach English and literature.
Question: How did you start and how?
Answer: I started in my year one at the university. I was so much into marketing. But you know I have to balance school and the business. There are some people who do make them. At a workshop near Wandegeya. I do the marketing and then when I am free, I help to make. Initially I started with a few clients: 1, 2 , 3 in a week and then when I joined twitter (someone told me to join), it was good for business. I joined it (Twitter) and then business picked up towards the end of last year. That is it up to now.
Question: What was this that you started?
Question: Where did the start-up money come from?
Answer: Pocket money. These people sell to me at 13, 000 a pair. I sell it at 20, 000 a pair depending on the craft. So, I first bought like 4 to 5 pairs. I took their pictures and posted them on Twitter. At first, business was slow. But then people started showing interest. With time, when those guys realized that I was marketing their product, they started giving me, I sell and then I give them their share.
Question: So, at what point did you think of joining the workshop?
Answer: In my second year, that was last year, they were like why don’t you come and be part of us? But you see, as you go higher, the load at school is also increasing. I was giving less time to the business so what I started doing, I would just send the orders, when they are ready, I go and pick it or they bring it to my place. That’s how we are doing up to now. But right now it’s hard because I am in school, I am teaching and I am doing business.
Question: How are you holding up?
Answer: Very soon I might get it (business) out of the way and I get something else but what I do is that I pick crafts over the weekend, the ones for delivery in the week and take orders. That’s what I do every Saturday and Sunday. In case someone wants a craft and I am not available, I tell the people at the shop to make it for me, if I can’t be able to deliver it myself, they help me send it to the person. Then they just send me my share but if it finds me at campus, I do the delivery myself. In most cases, I send in the orders, they make them and I pick them over the weekend. That’s how I am doing right now.
Question: Tell me about getting the skill…
Answer: When I joined, I thought making them was very hard. But when I watched how they make them, I realized that if you have all the necessary tools (of course it also needs electricity 24/7, all types of leather….when you have all those), making them becomes so easy. You just need a skill and right now, I can say that I have the skill.
Question: Most University students would rather ‘slay’ than do what you are engaged in. What informed your choice?
Answer: When I came to campus, I sat down and I said no, I can’t burden my parents with my school. I was like, for the case of pocket money, I will cater for it myself. They will handle the tuition bit of it. That’s it and I make my pocket money myself. My parents take care of tuition.