Trying to find the right company to create a gifting and party favour experience can be a real challenge, but in Tanzania, one woman manufacturer is providing a solution. Patricia Majule, founder of Unique Favors TZ, is creating a range of gifting and party favour products that are made locally at a great price.
LoA chatted to founder Patricia Majule to find out more.
What does your company do?
My business trades as “Unique Favors Tz” - it makes products and provides services ranging from Decorware, Gifts, Gift Supplies and specialist services around Gifting. The items made can be used for parties, functions and events and can be customized to be used for non-party other celebration uses such as business advertising and corporate branding. My business started way back in 2013 as “Unique Gifts Tz”, and at the time aimed to create a range of gift products after reinventing a new use of eggshells and manufacturing them into the form of a very unique artistic material used for gift products. The business later expanded its product line as mentioned above and changed the name officially registered as “Unique Favors Tz” in 2014.
"My business originally aimed to create a range of gift products after reinventing a new use of eggshells and manufacturing them into the form of a very unique artistic material used for gifting."
What inspired you to start your company?
This idea for the business came after noticing that most people were importing paper supplies from abroad for the purpose of creating quality gift products instead of investing in machines to drive the main source of production locally, thereby cutting costs. I am glad people are able to buy quality products made in Tanzania at a lower price from us, and to have also promoted industrialization in Tanzania leading to greater development in the country.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Firstly, I have invested in manufacturing equipment and processes for my business which assures it is a going concern. Secondly, our products are environmentally friendly, for example i.e paper and used egg shells. Thirdly, at Unique Favors TZ, we are a focused and determined team. Fourthly, our products are in high demand as our paper party supplies are custom-made based on customers’ choices with added personalization and uniqueness. Fifthly, our cardboard art products that have been made from processed eggshells are very unique and durable. And finally, we are not middlemen - instead we are manufacturers which assures the longevity of our company.
"This idea for the business came after noticing that most people were importing paper supplies from abroad for the purpose of creating quality gift products instead of investing in machines to drive the main source of production locally, thereby cutting costs."
"I have invested in manufacturing equipment and processes for my business which assures it is a going concern."
Tell us a little about your team
I have a very strong team who offer the best combination of great customer care and personalised services to our clients.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I remember when I started my business at age 19, I didn’t have a single machine, or a printer, or an office, and I was making paper bags and boxes by hand. All I did was to use a home computer to design package templates and then go to the stationery store to print them out, come back to my bedroom which I was using as my home office, and then cut ,glue and assemble them ready to promote them on my face book page for sale. A lot of people, even those close to me, teased and laughed at me at the time, but I did not care as I knew my goal was to create a better brand and business, and I knew one day I would have at least a mini industry to call my own. And guess what, through a little publicity I was easily noticed by potential clients and received a huge packaging order from Vodacom of 500 packs - and I had done it all in my bedroom office. In comparison, today my company runs as many machines for production. From this short story, the lesson to learn is that being at a young age shouldn’t limit you from getting into an industrial business, and importantly people’s negative words should not stop you from realising your dreams. There are always people somewhere who are waiting to use your products, so do not give up. In addition to all these products in the business, I also make customized party supplies such as garlands, sashes, printed ribbons, place cards, price tags, party tags, wedding props, wedding signs, invitation cards etc. The best thing about my products is that everything is made from scratch and it’s only the raw materials such as papers/unprinted ribbons that are imported - the rest is done from scratch, here in the country.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
My strategy is to expand all over Africa with my business, especially focusing on the production of specialist cardboard products since they use left overs of eggshell arts. As a result, I believe it will make a contribution to the preservation of the environment. In five to ten years, I am sure the majority of people will understand the importance of using paper bags and gift boxes especially when it comes to helping to preserve the environment and in the case of eggshell recycling, I will have contributed highly in controlling environmental pollution.
"We are not middlemen - instead we are manufacturers which assures the longevity of our company."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Being a proud young lady aged 23 who has been able to invest in manufacturing which is the most rewarding sector. It all started in 2013 when I was 19 years by using the money I saved while studying at the university and then growing the business organically by ploughing back the profit. What also gives me satisfaction is that I am able to inspire more women to know that age should not limit them and they are capable of doing bigger and great things. I am also currently one of the mentors on the African Entrepreneurship Awards panel, as one of the ways of giving back to my society is my sharing my entrepreneurship insights with others. Last year, I received a special award as the Most Outstanding Mentor in East Africa.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Being a woman is an added advantage for you to be successful as an entrepreneur in Africa, because we are naturally strong to endure hardworking tasks. The only thing you need to add is to be patient with your business as it takes 5 to 10 years to grow a brand. So to be successful one needs to be consistent with the idea and the business for it to grow; avoid procrastination; put God first in everything you do; and do not give up. Remember that nothing great comes from simplicity - you have to endure a lot of tough days.
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Why LoA loves it….
Patricia Majule is a great example of thinking big, working hard, never giving up, and importantly, staying driven and firmly focused on the big picture. She had a dream of building a sustainable, substantial manufacturing business that could make a difference, and she is doing just that. She is a great example to other young aspirant women entrepreneurs that if you can dream it, you can make it happen, with enough hard work and tenacity. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa