From a very young age, Mabel Deo's interest in sewing began.
By the age of 25, she knew it was now or never — so she joined a tailoring business in Labasa Town and put all else aside to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional tailor.
At first, Mabel felt intimidated and lacking, especially surrounded by other experienced women who had been in the business for many years.
But her strong passion for the work drove her to display her skills as she sewed beautiful blouses, dresses, shorts, pants and shirts which were sold.
The determined woman said there was nothing she could do better in life but to demonstrate her talent through sewing.
"After completing my high school education, I got married and stayed home for a few years before I decided to work at the factory," Mabel said.
"I felt uneasy when I started because I was among some of the finest tailors but I reassured myself that this was a calling I had to utilise."
After a few weeks, Mabel said she felt well-adapted to the tailoring business system.
"Having gained some experience, I decided to leave for another factory where I further developed my skills," she said.
"Though it was a good learning experience for me, I was still not satisfied because the thought of starting up my own business kept bothering me."
In 2002, Mabel opened up her own business known as "Ladies Tailoring" at the Civic Centre Building in Labasa.
Now at the age of 52, she has never regretted managing her own business for the past 10 years.
"I am always busy every day because my customers keep coming with their materials to be sewn," the mother of two said.
"Festival contestants also come to me with their patterns and designs and it only takes me a few days to sew their elegant dresses."
Mabel also sews bridal wear, for birthdays and for special functions.
"I have developed a good relationship with my customers and they love the way I sew. Sewing might be tiring at times but it always gives me a reason to smile because I receive good money from it at the end of the day," she added.
Mabel said the money she received from sewing clothes helped put food on the table and pay for other household expenses. Her husband Bim Deo is a farmer.