SME tailors under pressure to make school uniforms

14 Jan 2014 09:10am
WINDHOEK, 14 JAN (NAMPA) – Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) tailors in Windhoek are struggling to keep up with the demand for school uniforms as parents are flocking to their businesses to place their orders.
Schools open for the first term of 2014 on Wednesday.
Sina Hengombe who owns Mr Uniforms which she runs from a garage in Katutura said business has been good so far.
“We are under pressure. Some people also bring in uniforms to be made smaller or bigger,” she said.
She noted that the demand is so high that they were forced to remain open over the festive season and close on Christmas and New Year's Day only in order to complete their orders.
Hengombe says her business gets up to 30 orders per day and sells 20 school uniforms or more per day.
She however expressed concern that currently, the rental fees for business premises are very high, saying it is her vision to grow her business one day and become one of the leading shops supplying school uniforms to the country.
Established in 2006, Mr Uniforms makes school uniforms including tracksuits for most of the primary and secondary schools in Katutura and some schools in town.
Mr Uniforms also supplies some schools outside Windhoek with school uniforms, particularly schools in the Omaheke and Opuwo Regions.
Meanwhile, Angelica Shiimi from Fancy Bride and Linen who operates from Soweto Market in the capital demanded that Government gives preference to SMEs for the making of school uniforms for local schools as they can provide jobs to many experienced tailors who are currently unemployed.
This will also enable the SMEs to make more money and grow, and start making uniforms for schools outside Windhoek.
She supported plans by the Ministry of Education to ensure that all school uniforms are made locally and not imported from countries such as South Africa.
“This is a good idea and I hope the ministry will do that as soon as possible,” Shiimi said.
She has been in business for the past 10 years.
Also operating from Soweto Market is Fredrika Gawases, who said her business is also doing well with the exception of limited stock which sometimes hampers business.
“If we had enough stock we would have enough money to advertise our businesses,” she noted.
She said competition is very tough as some tailors who concentrate on other forms of tailoring throughout the year jump on the bandwagon, taking advantage of the rush for uniforms at the beginning of the year.
Gawases, who opened her business in 1998, makes uniforms for all schools in Windhoek and plans to expand to schools in the Hardap Region. She makes up to three school uniforms per day.