Messaynesh Geberesilassie visited home in Ethopia, and couldn’t resist seeing the value of the quality handcrafted work by local artisans and doing nothing about it. She also knew that there was a high rise in the demand for these special products, and since she had always wanted to start a business she went for it.
Messaynesh started Mela, a small scale, family-owned enterprise that employs artisans who produce beautiful traditionally hand woven 100% Ethiopian cotton scarfs and leather products..
She loves the handcrafted items so much that she believes they are not just fashion accessories but ancient art.
In the beginning, Messaynesh wanted to source the fashion products and find people to stock them in boutiques and stores but the idea flopped. It seemed no one was interested in selling her goods.
It was at this point that Messaynesh changed plans. She decided that she would market her products by herself instead of waiting for people to market it for her. This was when things started working perfectly. She sold six items in one day, a feat she had not achieved until then.
In 2014, she found Bryanston Organic and Natural Market and bought a store in the market, this deal introduced her brand to more people and her business improved.
Beyond all these, what gives her most joy is the fact that she can do something that she loves, and makes her happy while promoting her culture and small businesses.
Her advice to young entrepreneurs is this, “Follows your dreams. It can be hard and it takes time and energy. If you have faith and believe in yourself you will find a way. Talk to people, share your idea, you never know what happens next.”