Friday, July 29, 2011

Marketing and Packaging


Samuel has been trying to get a bit more involved in helping Bellekria out.  He has recently employed a Timorese guy part time to do some work for us.  One of his tasks will be taking Novi and Sinta around to various NGOs and Gov departments trying to promote our cloth pads.  So then we start thinking about packaging….how can we present these products attractively?  Perhaps a small cloth bag?  So i asked Sinta to whip up a couple of trial bags – one elasticised top and one drawstring.  But each of them would have to priced at $1 each which is just too much to add to our pricing.   Hmmmm more thinking.  Perhaps a paper bag?  The local Timor NGO “KOR TIMOR” makes paper and paper products.   Perhaps we could drop in and have a chat.   So on a shopping trip I plan to go there, however our time runs out, so we head home.  On the way home, Samuel runs into a hardware shop to buy some nails.   A few minutes later he is back at the car smiling smugly and asking me to go in with him.   I am thinking ok, maybe this place sells washing machines and one is on sale?  Or perhaps he wants my opinion on some product for one of his various building projects….but no!  He leads me to a dark shelf hidden away, and would you believe it?  Feminine packaging bags, complete with sealable ends and in bulk!  100 small ones for $6, large ones $10!  PERFECT!!!  Beautiful, attractive, protective and cheap!  In a hardware shop of all places….Only in Timor!??  


What  a blessing.  I couldnt wait to get hom to show Sinta and Novi.  They were delighted!  They couldnt believe how proffesional they made our product look.  Sinta got all excited and by the next afternoon had packaged up most of our products, complete with swing tags and displayed them on our bench top for customers to browse through…:)

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Sewing School Shirts!

Sinta and Novi talked to me last week about sewing some shirts for the local Beto school. Some mums had been asking for them.  So of we went to the fabric store in Colmera.
They didn't have the right blue in the cheap fabrics.  Only a dark one.  They had something close in a more expensive fabric.  They told us they were all out of it (must be popular especially being a uniform fabric but for some reason that doesn't mean its well stocked…?) But that the small corner store (kiosk) next door may have it??  Go figure.  Anyway sure enough this Timor version of a 7/11 had some rolls of fabric in the corner.  Colours varied but none fit the bill.  We kept asking them to look behind etc and finally the guy looked under the bench where the roll ends were neatly folded – BINGO!! 2 lengths of the correct fabric each slightly less than 1m enough for about 4 shirts i suppose.  Not really enough…..
Anyway so off we went to the larger store across town (larger as in this one is about 7mx4m instead of 3x4m.  “Timor Diak” is always crowded with people and rolls of fabric.  The aisles are only about 50cm wide and the cutting bench is even narrower!  I pity and admire the men doing the cutting.  Anyway, no luck there either.  So back we go to the first shop and buy a length of the better quality fabric which is really too expensive…Oh well….  I dropped the fabric off and the next day we headed for Los Palos.  Sinta and Novi had other sewing tasks to do, but should be starting the shirts while I was away.  I did occasionally fret while I was away…I didn't remind them to over lock the seams!  How will they go making the patterns?  What about the collars? and the pockets and buttonholes? 

 DSCF2787 Well Look what I came back to!  I am so proud of them!  They never cease to amaze me.  The collars are perfect, even with stiff interfacing inside, the seams are overlocked and pattern great!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sweet Hope

Two of the women who visited these past weeks have been very encouraging!!  They listened to our desire to assist poor women with cloth pads.  They felt that they would like to help somehow, and came up with the idea of raising funds to purchase sets which then can be distributed to women in the mountains.  It was what my heart was desiring.  I have been able to give away a few packs myself to a few Timorese women, and I would love to be able to give more.  So they have both purchased some samples and taken a brochure with them to try and educate friends and acquaintances about the need here.
And another visitor has requested a small order of bags to take with her to sell back home.  Very exciting!
Sinta, and Novi have been so busy with other orders that we haven't put time into  marketing the pads to relevant female/health NGOs.  Hopefully over the next few months we can move lots of pads into the communities.

Friday, July 15, 2011

More pics of cool books!

DSCF2556 DSCF2546_renamed_20248 DSCF2547_renamed_11706 DSCF2548_renamed_28264 DSCF2549_renamed_28314 DSCF2550 DSCF2552_renamed_4457 DSCF2553 DSCF2554_renamed_15558 So our third order of cloth books have been picked up and paid for..  Just need to finish making the extra 10 ordered by our visitors. 

Biblioteka Ermera (Ermera library) cushions

have a look at these gorgous cushion covers!!  The library at Ermera is having its grand opening next Friday! Very exiting.  Even the President will be there!  They asked us to whip up some cheery cushion covers with animals on them.  Sinta and Novi got to work and presto! here they are:
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If you want to check out the library’s new website follow this link.   The Ermera Library
They also dropped off a large book, so that we can start planning for making some large library bags.  The local teachers borrow large books to use at the front of their classrooms.  we may be creating some fabric ones too…..

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Well, What can I say.  My world has tilted to a new angle.  I have moved to The MOST Amazing House!! I have storage, basins and a new normal size fridge.  We were rushing to get it mostly finished before the arrival of 6 visitors from Melbourne.  They are very friendly and generous.  I showed them Bellekria, and they were very impressed with the cloth books.  Upon hearing that the orders for them were from a library in the mountains, they decided to buy 10, and then donate them to the library.  Wonderful for us, and wonderful for the library! The new designs are more technical and time consuming, so we are increasing the price accordingly.  Thanks to a great suggestion from Fran, we have bought some wide ribbon to bind the edges of the book pages, rather than hand making bias binding.  This will greatly reduce the cost of production.
ALSO, one of the men asked for two bandannas to be sewn up, one from a piece of local hand made TAIS fabric, and the other from an Indonesian print.  He wants to pay $20 for the job, which me and Sinta think is quite ridiculous.  But of course we are quite happy to oblige. ;)
DSCN2647 Here they are moddelling the bandanas.  Awesome hey?