The Story Exchange, Sabina Zunguze, A Gift To AfricaYour Name: Sabina Zunguze

Business Name: A Gift To Africa, a marketer for gifts made by poor and rural women of Africa

Type of Business: Social Enterprise

Business Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Twitter   @sabzee

Reason for starting
I started this business almost 10 years ago because I saw women in my native country, Zimbabwe, and also other African countries that I had lived in struggling to sell the beautiful handmade products they were making. The women did not have ready markets in their areas and they were getting almost nothing for their beautiful products. In other instances, women who had received some type of micro-loans and were making export-quality products, also did not have ready markets within their areas to sell them. So my inspiration was to provide a market for these women in the USA where a lot of women really appreciated the workmanship of these women.

How do you define success?
My success is to see smiles on the faces of the women artisans I work with in Africa . Smiles that reflect that they can finally put kids through school and that they are able to put food on the table because we have been able to sell their products here in the USA and beyond. Success to me is to satisfy that yearning that drove me to do what I do, which is to make a living while doing good for others.

Biggest Success
Making large sales such that my women artisans have enough money to feed and clothe their families. Our biggest success was when we received a large order of our products from a prestigious catalog house.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My top challenge has been to find the right markets for my products that are handmade and fairly traded and tend to have a higher price tag than those that are mass produced. I have addressed this issue by being innovative in my marketing. For example, all products are sold with a story of the producers, I now market to the higher end consumers and also I have improved on my packaging.

Who is your most important role model?
My mother who always told me not to forget where I came from meaning God gave you what you have to help others.