Eileen's story is one of passion, heritage, and empowerment. Growing up surrounded by weavers in her compound, Eileen's journey as an entrepreneur began at a young age. Inspired by her mother, who sold sisal baskets and products, Eileen embarked on a path to follow in her footsteps.
While studying at university, Eileen started buying baskets from her mother and selling them to her friends and classmates, using social media platforms to showcase her products. It was during this time that she envisioned the potential of sisal beyond baskets, expanding her product portfolio to include rugs, placemats, and even lampshades.
Eileen modeling some products from her brand ShopVata.
What sets Eileen's work apart is her deep connection to her heritage and culture. Weaving is not just a craft for her—it is a part of her identity. Her mother taught her to weave, and she honors the elders who passed down this tradition. Working with women, many of whom are mothers themselves, is a constant source of inspiration for Eileen. She sees the drive and desire for financial independence in these women, and it motivates her to contribute to their empowerment.
Selling her products on Mawu marketplace has been a game-changer for Eileen. It has allowed her to reach a wider audience and increase sales. With Mawu handling marketing efforts, Eileen can focus on creating and perfecting her craft, knowing that her creations are being showcased to potential customers.
Eileen's creative process is a collaborative one. While she provides input as a creative, she also allows her skilled weavers to surprise her with new designs and color combinations. This approach captures the weaver's personality and makes each handcrafted item truly special. Eileen ensures the quality of her products by using high-quality materials, paying attention to detail, and constantly refining her weaver's techniques.
Eileen's creative process is a collaborative one between her and the weavers she works with.
As a woman artisan, Eileen acknowledges the challenges faced by women in her industry. Unfair pay for their time and skill is an ongoing issue. However, Eileen remains committed to empowering the women she works with and strives for change.
Although Eileen is not a mother herself, she has been inspired by the mothers she collaborates with. Witnessing her own mother's success and joy in running her own business, Eileen knew that she wanted to create a business that would have a positive impact beyond herself. The opportunity to provide financial independence and stability for mothers fuels her drive to succeed.
Eileen's ShopVata has been inspired by the mothers she collaborates with.
Looking to the future, Eileen envisions expanding her product line, exploring new materials and techniques, and reaching new markets. Customization remains a focus, as she sees the joy and satisfaction it brings to her clients. Every satisfied customer is an accomplishment for Eileen and a testament to her dedication as an artisan and entrepreneur.
To other women artisans and entrepreneurs looking to sell their products online, Eileen offers valuable advice. She encourages them to start, knowing that they will figure things out along the way. Quality, consistency, and establishing a strong brand identity are essential. Seeking mentorship and support from other women in the industry is valuable, as is staying up-to-date on industry trends and continuously learning and growing.
Eileen's story is an inspiration—a testament to the power of embracing one's heritage, following one's passion, and creating a business that empowers both artisans and customers alike.