Patricia Majule started the business of manufacturing and supplying of custom party supplies, box packages, favors & gifts in 2014 and has recorded tremendous growth since then.
Her idea was born when she noticed that most people in Tanzania were importing paper supplies from abroad, instead of investing in machines becoming manufacturers. Through her business, she has been able to provide quality products made in Tanzania, at lower prices.
She takes us through her journey so far and how she’s changing the face of the Tanzanian manufacturing industry, whilst protecting the environment.
Tell us about your business and the idea behind it
My business trades as Unique Favors Tz,; we make products and provide services ranging from décor ware, gifting and gift supplies. Our products are used for parties, functions, events and can be customized for non- celebration uses, such as, business advertising and branding.
The company began in 2013 as Unique Gifts Tz, and at the time we were specialising in gifts. But, we expanded our product line and changed the name officially, and registered as “Unique Favors Tz” in 2014.
What ways are you contributing to the protection of the environment through your product type?
One of the products we make at Unique Favors Tz is uniquely designed cardboard, made by using the leftover egg shells from chicken eggs (maganda ya mayai in Kiswahili language).
Egg shells help curb environmental waste by reducing the waste that would have probably been increased by throwing away eggshells right after usage.
In Tanzania , eggs are consumed in large quantities due to the existence of many small scale entrepreneurs selling them in kiosks and bars, and also due to the fact that chicken livestock farming is popular in Tanzania.
Secondly, we use paper products to package gifts, as opposed to plastic.
Plastic bags are known to be a form of waste which cannot decay; which is why there has been a movement by the government to reduce and completely ban the use of plastic packaging in Tanzania. In five to ten years, my products will have contributed significantly to curbing environmental pollution.
What strategies have helped your business grow these past few years?
Very good & friendly customer care.
Continuous research and product quality improvement.
Customer feedback and follow up’s.
Great staff and business partner training.
The uniqueness of our products.
Those are just few of our strategies.
What opportunities lie in Africa and how much are young people tapping into them?
I’ve always believed that Africa is full of opportunities and many of them are hidden in industrial operations. Firstly the industrial sector is one of the most untapped sectors in Africa, especially by local natives, yet the most rewarding sector.
Majority of the youth dare to start a business with a focus on the retail phase, but they lack the courage and resilience to grow their businesses to an industrial level. Many other youth reach the idea level and fail to proceed to the implementation level.
Tell us the setbacks you’ve faced in the course of establishing your business and your survival method(s)
- Most of our product line and service offering is very new and unique to our community. Therefore, we have spent a lot of our time educating them in order to get buy-in.
- At times raw materials which are needed for production are scarce; coupled with price fluctuations, this tends to be a challenge.
- In our society it is not normal for people to see you developing a product and being in industrial, especially at a young age like mine, so there is a belief that somebody else could do my job better, and hence there is little support and a lot of bad-mouthing.
But ,at the end of the day our survival methods are to: be courageous, patient, and resilient and know that as long as we are being ethical and legal, everything is fine. Society will catch-up later.
What great success has your business recorded in the past few years?
Our business has been successful in so many ways. Firstly, by introducing new unique products to the market, we got a very positive response from customers, which lead to significant company growth. Also we have been able to create temporary and permanent jobs to majority of the natives in Tanzania.
What makes your business unique?
The products we manufacture in- country, the paper party supplies and the egg shell cardboards, are customised and very unique because everything is made from scratch. Most of the party supplies in our country are fully imported from China, so they tend to have common styles and lack that unique style.
What are your top 3 books?
Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin graham
Getting Things Done by David Allen
What’s the one business mantra you’d want every business owner to know?
Have clear and positive priorities and stick to them, be consistent in pursuing your goals.
What is your company doing to protect the environment?
Let us know more here.