UPNG student adds value to talent

 She Started Her Business While Doing Her Final Year in UPNG

Abaisa Delicacy is an SME dedicated to empowering young women who are struggling with issues such as early pregnancy, neglect, abuse, financial issues in college, Single mothers financially struggling, and women who have talent but don't know how to monetize it.

Loretta Tunim, 23, from Bougainville is the founder and Director of Abaisa Delicacy. She started her business last year (2020) when she was doing her final year of study at UPNG, reali.

Growing up in a home without the presence of a Biological father, a home filled with business-minded family members, Loretta was often challenged to be independent and was groomed to not rely on people to get things done, to always stand on her own as an independent young woman.

It all started as most inspiring stories do - with a problem.

In Loretta's story, the path towards Aibaisa Delicasy begun when she was notified by the school accounts that she has outstanding fees that need to be settled in order for her to graduate.

Knowing how much her family invested in her throughout the years, Loretta decided not to burden them further with her outstanding fees, so she decided to resolve this issue on her own.

Her first attempt was to seek financial aid from a public office, which resulted in an abusive response, as the officer responded saying that she’ll have to reciprocate the favor, meaning they’ll have to meet in a private hotel room to discuss terms. She immediately blocked the officer’s contact after his response.

Realizing the possibility that she might get more responses of the sort if she continue seeking financial aid from public offices gave Loretta the urge to pursue raising the funds on her own.

After contemplating on what type of business to venture into, she noticed that there is a potential monetizing gap in the world of fashion and the capacity for growth therewith. She realized how invested most women are in purchasing trending fashion products no matter the cost.

Being a woman herself, she understood the opportunity in that space, thus gave her the confidence to initiate her start-up, which was mostly providing hair extension services to her friends and other students who saw her work and were interested.

Loretta understood only in concept that there are different braiding techniques or styles, but the one that most women prefer is the box braid which takes 5 hours or more depending on the hair length.

“When I first started, it took me 9 hours just to braid only one client’s hair, it was exhausting, but I knew what I want to do, and believed that I can do it,” said Loretta.

Loretta juggled her study time with that of building her skillset in hair styling.

Her academic workload was immense, as it was her final year of studies, but she had a vision for her business and a goal set to pay her outstanding fees, thus she spared what little time she had to learn more braiding techniques and hairstyles.

So after a usual night of studying and shorting off workloads and assignments, she would spend hours skimming through the net watching videos on how to improve her skillset in braiding and hairstyling.

“I am thankful for my amazing friends who would stay up with me even during late hours, just so I could research or discuss something about hairstyles or work on a client’s hair, which is another thing Uni has given is friends that share a common interest.”

Seeing how her acquired skillset and style attracted more customers, she began purchasing hairpieces in bulk from Indonesia.

At this point, she had enough to pay off her outstanding fees.

But Loretta wasn’t going to stop there, she doubled up efforts seeing the potential in her business. She then went from just doing hairstyles to selling hair extension pieces and providing hair extension services.

She understood that success in business means strategic innovation, thus she created a social media page, a platform where she uses to display her work and other interesting content to grow her followers.

Earlier this year, she went on to extended her “little in-house market” to purchasing bulk Meri Blouses from Kokopo and reselling it to her customers here in POM.

Her Facebook page now has over 2.1K followers, which she maintains consistency of posting and ensures that contents posted are not always about sales and business, but also about women empowerment, issues affecting society, business tips, and other inspiring content.

She always believes in customer satisfaction, which one customer can always be an ambassador of a brand or business, thus if they are satisfied and happy with the service they get, then potentially they can bring more people in just by sharing word of mouth or social media contents.

With her school fee debts settled and business running swiftly, Loretta added another accomplishment to her pile of goals when she graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea a few months ago on July 27th with a Degree in the school of humanities and Social Sciences and is currently employed by Datec PNG.

Seeing how she does her business, the commitment she has to it, and what she stands for in terms of women empowerment, two powerful and seasoned women in the corporate world of PNG, Mrs Janet Sios, the founder and director of PNG FASHION AND DESIGN WEEK, and Ms Edith Moide director of DI AGENCY PNG offered to mentor her in her business.

Loretta always wants to stay at the top of her game, thus she looks for any opportunity to improve her knowledge in business.

She now attends a 45mins free online coaching program once a week with Women’s Resource Business Centre offered by The Different Incubator (TDI) a social enterprise based in Melbourne.

She has 5 other young and talented women working with her in Abaisa Delicacy, which they work in their distinctive sections of the business, bringing their talents and skillset to the table.

All 6 talented young women ensure they get products in bulk to be resold to customers in POM, and all merged profits are then invested into the business for the sole purpose of growth and inspiration.

They are consistent and active with their social media marketing, which they sell most of their products on, but whenever they hear about big events like the POM CITY markets, they would produce their collection in bulk and display them at their stall.

“I am grateful that no matter the circumstances, I was rewarded with very highly educated and influential businesswomen to be my business mentors and my friends who were willing to be part of Abaisa Delicacy.”

“I believe that it is through prayer, determination, and hard work that we can accomplish our goals.”

"Eventually, I would like to increase sales by expanding the customer base and employ more talented young Papua New Guineans."

Loretta hopes that her story will inspire young women and girls to identify their strengths, add more value to them, and venture into business and become entrepreneurs and women in business.

Image Caption: Loretta Tunim (Centre) and Team Abaisa

Source: Exepreneur Magazine 

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