By Immaculate Auma and Agatha N. Biira
For Marion Ndyemanya, crafting has always been something she has done since she was young. Born and raised in Seeta, Mukono district to Rev. Can. Wilberforce Kabanda and Mbabazi Damalie, Ndyemanya has always had her way around crafts.
As early as the time she was in primary school, Ndyemanya had already learnt how to make crafted items. “From childhood, we would make bags, necklaces, and ear rings and sell them at church after service. We would set up a table where we would sell from, “Ndyemanya said.
Having picked up after her mother, Ndyemanya decided to start something of her own. “I remember getting shs. 5,000 from my mother and buying some beads to start off with. At the time, I was looking for something to keep me busy and not on the money side of it,” she said. “My mother had the materials I needed at the time. So, I got some threads from her and started out. “
In her senior six vacation in 2019, Ndyemanya took advantage of YouTube videos and Pinterest to learn how to make bracelets as a way of passing time. This was when her business, “Anya wrists,” was born, Anya being a word she derived from her name, Ndemanya. She makes a variety of crafts such as bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and lately, she has also started hand printing shirts.
What started as something for leisure is now a source of income for her. Now a second-year student at Uganda Christian University (UCU) pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance, Ndyemanya says she does not remember the last time she asked her parents for pocket money. The business she started with Shs. 5000 now brings in Shs. 500,000 monthly on average.
One might wonder how she sold her brand to the community. Ndyemanya said she mainly uses social media, mainly WhatsApp, to market her products. She sells her final products to students in universities across Kampala and Mukono, such as Makerere University, Kyambogo University, and UCU. Her products go for as low as Shs. 10,000.
Business grows through investing, and for Ndyemanya, whatever profit she gets from the business is reinvested. “There reaches a point when you are no longer spending. Every amount you earn, you put it back into the business. In the beginning, I made bracelets of shs. 3000 and shs. 5000. I reinvested and improved the products,” she said.
Her biggest challenge has been balancing work and school. She says to be a good performer, sometimes she has to pause her business and put more effort into her studies. “I have met people that are more into money than school. But in my case, I want to excel in school and also have a booming business,” Ndyemanya said.
She attributes her success in business to her mother, for that is whom she got her foundation from. “My mom is very creative and I have learnt most of the things from her. She is very supportive and was there to see me through,” she added.
Ndyemanya hopes to pursue ACCA after finishing her Bachelor’s degree next year. She encourages students to take on every opportunity and not limit their potential.
Christa Oluka, the Director for Academic Affairs who has been juggling work and school since her undergraduate degree, encourages students to have a head start through being innovative and creative. “I believe you can have enough hours in the day to get everything done. You just have to be more dedicated, motivated, and focused to get what you want,” Oluka said.