Most of our traders are just enjoying making crafts or running a business but not Zahra, she wanted to raise money to volunteer in Zambia. “I set up my business as I needed to fundraise £800 to volunteer in Zambia for 3 months as part of International Citizen Service (ICS). I was volunteering with Challenges Worldwide who support small and medium sized businesses in developing countries. As I was going to be volunteering as a Business Consultant, I wanted to ‘earn’ my £800 rather than just get donations. I set up Christmas Clay as a business selling handmade clay Christmas tree decorations.”
For Zahra, space is her number one requirement “I need quite a lot of space available to lay out the decorations so they could dry after each stage so ended up with trays of decorations all around the house”.
She creates her crafts with clay because is pretty flexible and easy to use. She also ran African Coil Pot workshops as part of her fundraising so this helped give people of all ages a chance to make something themselves.
Zahra’s tip for entrepreneurs is networking – creating and looking out for opportunities to get your product out there.
Her creations are unique and they tend to be more environmentally friendly and that is the reason we love her products.
When we asked how did PYM influence your business, she replied” PYM helped me get more structure for my business and plan better. I also extended the range of designs for decorations. Setting up Christmas Clay helped me to start developing the skills and experience needed to best support a local farm in Zambia”
About volunteering abroad
“About volunteering abroad:
I was supporting NEWS Farms, a Zambian mother-son owned butchery and farm in Kitwe which had been open for less than a year. The butchery specialised in producing high quality, organic pork and beef products, which contained no soya or additives.
Each UK volunteer was matched with a Zambian counterpart and we worked together to support their business. After a training week covering business consulting skills, we spend 3 weeks conducting an analysis of our business to help find out the needs of the business and start coming up with potential recommendations. Our recommendations mainly focused towards marketing as it was a new business so needed help getting their name know and finding new clients. We produced leaflets, marketing materials and conducted research of potential corporate clients. We successfully helped NEWS Farms develop a relationship with a large hotel in Kitwe.”
Worldwide trained all volunteers in CMI Professional Consulting, but the experience of having a business at PYM help give me more confidence talking about what I was doing. This was good prep for going around Kitwe and talking to potential clients for NEWS Farms.
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