Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rewards and encouragement

Here I am writing from a comfortable lounge room in Australia.  What an overwhelming world of abundance… However, i have some lovely news to share.  I was checking facebook, and noticed that the weekly sunset market had put up some images from their final night this year.  So i browsed through the photos and to my surprise saw this:
 381717_192807094145681_127511660675225_387195_1913018846_n At first I thought the photographer had made a mistake and put up a photo from earlier in the year.  But as I looked harder I noticed a new dress,  and started to think that the bellekria women actually made it to the market by themselves!! How cool.
Another exciting picture confirmed it …392077_192809520812105_127511660675225_387217_1541935781_n
Here is Sinta receiving a certificate for “Most Creative Handicrafts”… YAY!! Apparently there were 4-5 certificates awarded to stall holders for various things.  A great encouragement to Bellekria.  I am sure that they all felt very proud. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nappy covers? Covered!

A few months ago Bellekria received a shipment of boxes.  These included 2-3 boxes of PUL fabric remnants and a bulk load of special “fold over elastic” – it has a crease line down the centre so it can be used like bias binding, as well as stretched to produce gathering.   I bought it because it was such a bargain and I was sure I would think of something to use it for.   Anyway here’s one of the many ways we have used it so far:  Nappy Covers!
Here they are called popok’s and are used with a piece of folded cloth inside.  They don't even have safety pins, let alone fancy “nappy snaps” or even fancier modern fitted cloth nappies.  So they are really excited about this product.  We made some samples and the same afternoon a visitor popped her head in and ended up buying 2.  We took some to the market and have had a few people question if we actually made them ourselves – here in Timor.  Because they look like something imported.  In other words they look too good to be produced here in Timor! I think that is a compliment to us, but its a bit derogatory to poor little Timor Leste.  We charge the very expensive rate of $4. About an average days wage. But word is that alternatives sell for around $11 in the supermarkets.  So i guess we are providing a bargain!DSCF3040
They are very simple to sew, apart from the fact that you need to stitch the elastic with a special zig zag stitch, which is only available on an electric machine, which only works when the power is on…Oh well.  We still manage to make them!
A funny note, in Australia you can buy velcro by the metre in separate sides, so that if you need more of one side eg the soft side you just buy more of that half.  Well here, it comes together.   Even when i tried to buy a whole roll of the soft side, they refused.  SO I have had to buy an equal amount of the hook side which unless i come up with some very creative ides may end up being thrown out….But I think its cheaper to buy both rolls here than to buy a roll of the soft side in OZ.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tardy tardy – late late

DSCF2867 (2)Managing Bellekria - a small sewing businessOh its been so long since I've posted a blog.  Our internet has been quite frustrating and then the times when it is working well we are pushing just to catch up on emails and maintain our main blog (bacons ba timor) , so my poor bellekria blog has been sadly neglected.  Things have been humming along, and our time here this year is coming to an end.  We are flying to Australia this Saturday for about 6 weeks.  We are hoping to return here late January.  I have had many discussions with the women, and still aren't sure what to do while i am away.  They suggested the sewing room close down until i return.  Its tempting, as its just makes it simpler for me.  But I am not sure its best for the business side of things.  I'm guessing they would be happy to have a few weeks off.  So we are still undecided whether to cut down to 1-2 days a week, or open full time for a few weeks, or closed, but Sinta available by phone…. Ahh i really need to organise this!  My concern is that i will not be here to pay them at the end of the month.  (as of today the plan is they stay open and i pay them when i get back.)
Anyway – the market trips had some interesting stories the last 2 weeks.  Two weeks ago IMGP0367 we arrived and set up, and soon after nightfall the power went out – no lights! Made       window shopping a bit difficult in the pitch black :)  We all got out our mobile phones and lit up the wares as buyers bravely walked around.  However by 9:00 it was still a black out, and word was not encouraging the possibility of it returning, so we packed up early and came home – not much had sold at all but i guess that's the nature of life.
This past week we had quite a variety of truck issues.  Kind of funny when you stand P1050154detached from it.  (We are currently trying to sell the truck and have some funds donated to purchase a better vehicle) Anyway we still sold $50 worth of products which is a nice boost, and helped clear out some stock.  A number of customers oohed and aahed over the products which is always so encouraging to the girls.  

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