By Leroy Dzenga
When Natasha Rushesha (23) finished her college in the United Kingdom in 2017, she opted to return to Zimbabwe.
Armed with a Business Management degree from the University of Portsmouth, she proceeded to test the applicability of her gained knowledge on home turf. In her mind was a business idea that was going to cater for a usually overlooked niche in the clothing business, full figured women.
This saw the birth of a clothing line which had a seemingly clear goal, but the opportunities that awaited them inspired an expansion of portfolio.
“Tawana by Tasha is a fashion line that was incorporated in January 2018, with the aim of designing and manufacturing trendy clothes for plus size women.
“However, with experience in the industry, Tawana by Tasha now tailor makes women and men’s events or bridal wear, corporate wear, Ankara wear, sportswear and linen,” she said.
Currently, they are applying a just-in-time business model as they gain ground in the cut throat fashion industry.
Tawana by Tasha operates with just four permanent employees at the moment.
For capital, Rushesha says she had to improvise and creatively find ways to set her business up.
“I used my personal savings for buying the materials. The machines were already available for the business from a previous family investment and fortunately enough my sister provided a place for the business,” she said.
Breaking into the market has not been easy for the infant company, as people are sometimes sceptical of new entrants, especially in the fashion industry.
“There are so many great tailors out there as well, and those tailors also have loyal customers. One of our greatest challenges has been marketing our brand and gaining the trust to produce great outfit for them.
“But what sets us apart from other people in the clothing industry is that we use lean operations where we minimise costs by designing and producing unique customised outfits,” said Rushesha.
With just a few months under their belt, the company has made strides.
Rushesha’s business has benefited from the change of approach by the Zimbabwean Government. “The new dispensation has created opportunities for businesses like ours for example; the Zimbabwe is open for business policy has created an opportunity for Tawana by Tasha.
“We have been invited to showcase our products in Italy by some other fashion designers where we raised our Zimbabwean flag high as well as selling our brand,” she said.
She added; “I think the Government should provide resources to youth-owned businesses. For instance, the launch of the Empower Bank, an initiative that provides loans to young entrepreneurs so they can fund their projects.”
Recently, their work was showcased at an event in Italy.
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