Inside her textile shop, Outlook, 39-year-old Sajitha is happily occupied with business throughout the day. When there are no customers, she rushes to the tailoring unit adjacent to the shop. There, she works to finish orders with an employee that helps her with stitching. Outlook is one of the popular textile shops in Nettithozhu, Idukki. “The business has been going really well,” says Sajitha. “We not only get orders from customers here, but students who are studying outside the town also come here to stitch their salwars and other items. The models we stitch for them are popular in their colleges and hence their friends send their materials, too.” The shop is exclusively for women customers and the stitching facility is an added perk that makes a trip to Outlook a one-stop shopping and tailoring experience.

How the business is booming

In order to take her business where she wanted it to go, Sajitha twice received micro-credits from IMPACT (Innovative Microfinance for Poverty Alleviation and Community Transformation), the micro-finance wing of World Vision India. With those credits, she was able to bring in more materials for her shop. With more varieties of clothes and more customers to buy them, Sajitha couldn’t be happier with her business. “The loans I got from IMPACT were a chance for me to get better at what I had been doing,” she says. “I could have never imagined such a profitable business for a small shop like mine, if it was not for IMPACT.” IMPACT works with families and communities, providing them micro-credit to improve their livelihood and become self-reliant. The IMPACT branch in Kattappana, Idukki, started in January 2009. As of March, the branch had provided loans to around 5,000 households in 95 villages of Idukki district, impacting the lives of 5,000 children.
Sajitha (left) and her daughter, Swati (right), at the shop. ©2018 World Vision, Namitha Lizbeth.
Sajitha (left) and her daughter, Swati (right), at the shop. ©2018 World Vision, Namitha Lizbeth.
Sajitha’s husband Sudheer, 46, is an electrician and helps her with running the business. He stays at the shop whenever he is free, so that Sajitha can stitch clothes. “Tailoring is an extra work to Sajitha and it demands a lot of effort, too,” Sudheer says. “Some days she stays awake until late night to finish the orders. So I try to be at the shop whenever possible.” “When there are bulk orders, we temporarily hire people to stitch,” he says. “Such tailors work for us on a daily-wage basis until the order is completed.”

Planning for the future

The couple has two children: Setu, who’s in the 12th grade, and Swati in 9th grade. Sajitha and her husband are hoping to let their children opt for higher education. Their improved earnings from the shop have given them the confidence that they can offer a good future for their children. “We get a sale of around INR 40,000 a month at the shop. Moreover, tailoring would bring in at least INR 20,000,” says Sajitha. “My dream is to expand the business and open a boutique someday. I am sure we will be able to do that if our business continues to be profitable.” You can use your voice to empower female entrepreneurs around the world. Use the form below to ask your elected official to support the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act, a bill that would make it U.S. policy to reduce gender disparities related to economic participation and opportunity, work towards eliminating gender-based violence, support women’s property rights, and improve the ability of women and girls to shape their futures!

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Photo: Thanks to her hard work, as well as micro-credits from World Vision India’s IMPACT program, Sajitha’s business is thriving. ©2018 World Vision, Namitha Lizbeth

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