We recently began a two-month home sewing business trial with three of our advanced sewing students. The purpose of this trial is to determine the most efficient way to set up a home sewing business for our students, and to identify any problems we may come across. These ladies graduated from the beginner class in January, and have been studying the advanced afternoon program for two months now.
Our products were developed by our two sewing teachers, who then taught our outstanding sewing students how to make them. We provide our students with all the necessary materials required to make the products. They then sew the items at their homes, using machines they have borrowed through the microfinance component of our sewing program. On Sundays, they come to our school and use our hemming machines and seek advice from our Sewing Assistant.
Our students earn a fair wage, 2,000 riel (50 cents) per hour to make the product. For example, we have determined a makeup bag takes three hours to make. So, the student receives $1.50 to make it. As a couple of weeks have gone by, they have become more efficient at making the products without compromising the quality. They still receive the same payment, as we believe in encouraging and rewarding good work. The students receive payment each Sunday, at the same time their microfinance repayments are collected.
By making these products at home, our students can work at their own pace, look after their families and do not have to spend time travelling to work. We provide our students with bonuses of sewing materials for good work, which they can use to fix and make clothes for their neighbors.
So far the main problem with this trial has been that the sewing machines the students have at their homes aren’t strong enough to sew thick fabric with zippers. We have addressed this problem by allowing them to come to class early to work on their products with our machines, as well as allowing them to use our sewing room all day on Sunday. We have also added a new addition to our sewing microfinance program. Once our students have paid off the loans of their first sewing machine ($98 over one year), if their repayments have been constant and we feel they are generating enough income, we will allow them to borrow money for a medium sized sewing machine, which is approximately $200. By that time, the students would have increased their business knowledge and built a client base.
The success of the trial will be determined through the completion of good quality products and feedback from the students and managers involved. Once the trial has been evaluated, appropriate modifications will be implemented for the launch of the business, funds dependent.
If you were interested in buying or selling our products, which include toys, handbags, pencil cases and small bags, please contact us!