Kumar’s unique craft
18 March, 2023, 5:30 pm
AFTER resigning from the civil service in 2006, Rakesh Kumar wanted something new to challenge himself.
He set up a nativity and handicraft business at home and has never looked back.
Mr Kumar has been creating Fijian nativity sets and selling handicraft since 2004.
You can spot him at the Suva seawall when cruise liners bearth at the in Suva.
“I supply the Fijian nativity overseas and also to the Latter Day Saints Church because I’m a member of the church,” Mr Kumar said. “This business has been my source of income for the past few years.
“I also sell products to Sweden, Italy and Spain during Christmas where people love nativity scenes.”
Mr Kumar said he was grateful for an opportunity to travel to India last year to showcase his talents.
“I did an Indian nativity set, because there was a demand from my customers there.
“In Fiji people do not know much about making nativity sets but in the western world people buy them as collectable items from different parts of the world.
Mr Kumar has also been having enquiries from customers in China.
“Apart from nativity sets, I also sell other souvenirs when a cruise ship arrives in Suva.” Mr Kumar is the sole breadwinner in his family He has four children and his wife is a stay-at-home mum.
While business has slowly picked up over the past two years, the struggles of the pandemic still lingers in his mind. “During COVID-19, life was challenging but we managed to survive.
“I sold products online during the pandemic and it was very effective.”
Mr Kumar hopes handicraft sellers would soon receive specialised assistance from the Government, so that they could take advantage of the increased cruise ship arrival.
He said tourists were mostly diverted to big retail tourist shops after they boarded the bus from the Suva Port. “We also need a shuttle for those selling handicrafts at the seawall and at the handicraft center.”