A wonderful craft – Childhood skill earns cash for mum

Amrita Devi Lal at the FNPF’s Boulevard with some of her crafts that she sells in Suva. Picture: UNAISI RATUBALAVU

Amrita Devi Lal never realised that one day she would earn money by making and selling earrings, doll dresses and knitting textiles using a crochet hook.

She never realised that pursuing an old art form she learned from her aunties as a child would one day hold her and her family in good stead!

Lal started selling pieces of her craft to her family and friends six years ago, and in the process began building her small business.

The 33-year-old shares she knew how to use crochet hook just by observing her aunties and grandmother while growing up.

“When I was little, I used to follow what they did and I just developed my skills from there,” she said.

“People buy these crochet-made dresses to dress up their dolls while others drape crochets as covers over their furniture.

“So, it’s a gift that I’ve enjoyed and nurtured since childhood.”

Lal came up with the initiative to start her own business after giving birth to her second child in 2016.

Now her business is based at the FNPF Boulevard in Suva where she displays her handiwork of earrings, doll dresses and other little pieces.

“After I finished secondary school at Nakasi High School, I studied hospitality and tourism at NZPTC and went to work in Nadi.

“When I got married, I moved back to Suva and worked at Carpenters and NewWorld Supermaket. After I gave birth to my second child, I decided to stay home and at the same time develop my crochet skills to the point where I would be able to sell my work.”

In her pursuit of business excellence, Lal has been assisted by the Fiji Arts Council and the Women’s Ministry.

“When they were having those women’s expos before COVID-19 that was the exposure and boost that many women in business needed.

“They helped us by providing training, developing our business skills and enabling us to have a place to sell our products.

“Along with other events, like the Hibiscus Festivals, we’ve been able to develop and grow our business as well.”

During the pandemic, Lal says they resorted to social media to improvise in order to keep their businesses going.

“I also sell pot plants along with my handicraft. So, during the pandemic, people have been ordering and buying my products online.

“In a way, my business has not really been affected and my customers love what I sell.”

Lal items that are selling like hot cakes include home and car decorations, called “Dreamer’s Catcher”, milk bottle covers, doll dresses and even tekiteki.

She said while selling at the Boulevard, her hands are busy making at least five pieces of her craft such as doll dresses, milk bottle covers or earrings.

“With this business, I can be my own boss and I hope to keep developing my business.”

She said she would not have come so far without the support of her parents, her husband and God.

“I’m also indebted to the Fiji Arts Council and the Ministry of Women.

“It’s been through their support and advice that I have succeeded in doing business through what I’ve loved as a child.”

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