From Cleaner to Business Owner – “I was treated like a mouse”

“When I first started working for the company, I was treated like a mouse. I was sent around and they would kick me as well. I was only a cleaner but I developed a passion for the art and for two years I attended art school on a part time basis until I became an assistant designer and then the assistant to the manager.”

– The Economist.

Karakulia Weavers in Swakopmund, Namibia, are known for handcrafted wall hangings, rugs and carpets made 100% pure karakul sheep wool got from the local Swakara farmers.

The process begins with carding the wool they collect.  After carding the wool they dye it and when dry they spin the wool. They they draw a design that will be woven.

They also weave bespoke rugs, so you can actually hand them a design you’ll like then to produce. They say there is practically no design they can’t weave.

This weaving business has become a vital part of Swakopmund’s tourism.

Who Says You have to Start a Business to Own One? 

“In 1991, Moses Helao left his parents and six siblings in northern Namibia and travelled to Swakopmund, seeking employment.

He worked for a time as a domestic cleaner before being hired at Karakulia Weavers to sweep floors…

Moses welcomed additional responsibilities, and proved he was willing to go beyond basic job requirements to better himself. As he moved from pattern-making to design, he attended art school at night for a year.

Moving into the supervisory ranks, he also studied German and took computer classes, again in his own time.

Over his two decades with the company, Moses has at one time supervised each aspect of manufacturing, including the carding, spinning, dyeing and weaving processes. He was also a sales assistant and assistant manager, before becoming general manager about four years ago.”

– Travel News Namibia.

Jenny Carvill who had started the business in 1979, observed how  Moses had set himself apart from others through his work ethic, intelligence and willingness to learn.

The business was eventually sold to Moses, in 2010, and his dream of becoming a business owner materialized in his forties.

What lessons can you take from Moses’ story? 

Karakulia Weavers

2 Rakotoka Street, Swakopmund

P.O.Box 1258, Swakopmund,

Namibia Tel: +264-64-461415 Cell: +264-81-2688340

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