LFHM Opportunities: How one teen mother’s crocheting skills becoming her source of income

Knitting and crocheting are stereotyped as ‘an old lady habit’, but this is not the case for 17-year-old teen mother Maniragena Oliva.
Every bit of embroidery is pleasant; from making slip knots to weaving, Oliva says the whole process is very thrilling for her, particularly when working on a new project.
Oliva displaying some of the products that she has been able to do through the skill learned from Love For Hope Ministry (LFHM)

“I am always excited to see the end result, especially if it is something I am making for the first time,” she says It was after conceiving her first born and having dropped out of school, that she developed urge of finding something to keep her busy and earn, that is when she got to know about skill trainings (crocheting, tailoring, hairdressing, catering and shoe making) that were given to vulnerable people at Love For Hope Ministry (LFHM) by her friend.

However since she had seen her grandmother crocheting, after coming across a crochet hook she had for years but never bothered to put to use. This turned out to be the source of her motivation.
Her source of inspiration is from things around her and people
Little did she know that joining LFHM would turn into something she longed for as a business that would help her earn some income.
Oliva with some of her colleagues perfecting themselves in the crocheting skill.
Oliva made use of LFHM tutorials to hone her new found talent.
She bought balls of yarn and started knitting. She also started showing her work to friends, that’s when things started falling into place.
She recalls a time she made a beanie and one baby sock, a friend with a smart phone took a picture and posted it on her WhatsApp status  that caused many of her friends inquire as to who was behind it and if they could have some orders.
“I made a headband and she posted it again, she received 8 orders. This time, it was clear to her that an opportunity in her knitting skills was long overdue. Currently am able to make headbands, beanies/hats, earrings, sweaters, tops, leg warmers/socks, and scarves, among others that I go around selling to people despite low market due to the effects of covid-19 as most people appreciate what am doing and willing to buy, however finances letting them down.” She said.
Her source of inspiration
Oliva explains that since crochet is a wide thing, there are millions of patterns to follow depending on what you want to make. And for her to be better at what she does, she makes it a point to learn everything her trainer teaches her at LFHM.
She says her source of inspiration is from things around her and people. “Anytime I see something beautiful, let’s say an outfit, accessories or decor, I start to think of whether I can recreate the same thing, but using my hands, a hook and a ball of yarn. And I also get inspiration from my mentors at LFHM.”
She is overcome by the support she has so far gained from LFHM, something she says gives her optimism to learn and work even harder.
“Goodness! People are loving my products very much; beyond my expectations. When I started, I was afraid that I wouldn’t have any customers, I was afraid that what I have chosen to learn wouldn’t be worth it however now that I have started making my own products and selling, am confident with time I will have a big market.”
Nonetheless, challenges have been a thorn in the flesh for her new business, especially in terms of limited time to deliver for her customers.
Her other struggle is with clients who are not contented with the pricing of her products.
“Some people say that my products are expensive, but honestly they are not. What they fail to understand is that a handmade product wouldn’t be compared to a machine-made product. There is time spent on it, the dedication, and moments of frustration, failures and so many things. But I really do appreciate those who understand. It would be a pleasure if everybody understood that.”
Lessons and future plans
Her biggest lesson since joining LFHM and venturing into this business is learning how to focus. She recalls when she had just started, she could see what other teen mother crocheters had made and would rush to make the same thing without even finishing what she had started, then later finding herself with several unfinished products.
This is when she decided to focus and keep it simple after believing that she was in no competition with anyone.
This is why she believes and recommends for anyone who wants to start a business, to just start, “If you have a way, just start. Of course you will always be afraid of competitors, afraid of the market and so many things; but if you don’t start, you will never know how it will turn out. I remember when I was thinking of starting this up, I started seeing people who do crochet everywhere and my only concern was that if I did it, people will think that I am copying them. When I talked to my trainer at LFHM, she said something that stuck in my mind until today. she said ‘Oliva, of course you will have competitors but remember, no one will ever do what you do the way you do it. So start.”
It’s almost two months since she started selling her products and her dreams include having her own brand be known and recognised for its fully handmade products.
“Most people that do crochet also have knitting machines, so they do both. But my wish is that I will also use machines.”

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