In an effort to showcase the talents, challenges, and successes of our borrowers, WMI has begun to select stand-out clients to feature on our blog. The selection process is carried out by the local coordinators who meet every Wednesday. They discuss the status of their groups and nominate one borrower they have found exemplary. This borrower might have a unique idea for a business, have used her loan in a way that provided major growth opportunity, is a model for savings, or is someone that other borrowers admire and consult for advice. WMI looks for borrowers that have strived for excellence and champion our model of microfinance.
This month WMI is proud to introduce you to Rita Nambafu. Living in Budadiri, a village deep in the valley of Eastern Uganda, Rita can be found in her freshly-swept beauty salon in the middle of the town’s busy trading center. Her shop is complete with full hair and nail services and is complemented by an extensive collection of beauty products for purchase.
At the young age of 22, Rita has proven herself a natural businesswoman. After completing a nine month salon course at Uganda Vocational Training school, she took her first WMI loan and opened her shop’s doors in February 2015. Now on her second cycle of the loan program, Rita has been able to edge out her competition by diversifying her business. In addition to her hair and nail services, she also offers advice on proper maintenance and has had large success selling hair products that will ensure the freshest looking style for months to come. She has also been able to expand and hire a new employee, her sister, Annet Nambozo, who is learning the tricks of the trade.
The sister-duo offer services including hair washing, braiding, weaving, relaxing, coloring, cutting, and styling. The salon also offers full nail services including manicures and pedicures. Rita mentions that although hair braiding is her favorite activity at her salon, the weaves are the best-sellers.
Rita attributes much of her business acumen to the loan program; she is completely comfortable keeping daily records and knows how essential customer care is to her business. She averages about twenty clients per month and is confident that they have and will remain loyal. This season is a particularly busy one as women prepare for holiday festivities and parties. When asked if she had seen a change within her community since being involved with the WMI program, Rita commented with a sly grin, “The women in my village look much smarter than before my shop opened.”
Looking forward, Rita’s goal is to eventually move her salon into a nearby city by the name of Mbale. About an hour’s drive away, this move would drastically reshape her business to involve more clientele, supplies, and employees. With an easy demeanor and an acute vision for success, Rita will have no problem achieving this dream.