Modester Phiri (Mrs.) started her home-based enterprise way back in 1997 when she ventured into tailoring to supply school uniforms to Viphya Secondary School and, then later, to Mary Mount Girls Catholic Secondary School. When her contract to supply the school uniforms was terminated in 2009, she stopped operating the business from home and set up shop at Mataifa Market in town and went into designing men’s and lady's outfits and window/ door curtains. In the same year, she registered the business at the Department of Registrar General (DRG) under the name Modest Creations.
In 2011, she opened another shop where she stores and displays different types of fabrics and her own fashion designs and, in 2015, she diversified the business to include event management and decorations, all under Modes Creations. Since then, Modest Creations has grown into the reputable high-end fashion house that it is today.
In 2020 she ventured into another business producing distilled water and producing Freezes. Both the water and freezes are packed in sachets of 300mls and 150mls, respectively. The name of the business is Mosar Foods. It is a duly registered business. The businesses have a total of five employees. Two of the employees work at Modest Creations, and the other three work at Mosar Foods.
Each and every business has challenges that are unique to that business. In the case of Modest Creations, the major challenge is pilferage by employees. There are also instances when clothes have not been tailored to customer expectations. “It is so hard to get a repeat sale from a disappointed client, but we have always won them back,” says Modester.
Mosar Foods has its challenges, too. The major challenge is the ubiquitous high cost of raw materials and the erratic supply of packaging materials on the market. This situation leads to inconsistent production and therefore negatively affects production volumes and sales. This is not good for the business.
Modest has this to say for those who are contemplating going into entrepreneurship. “Do not fear anything. There are many risks in business. Face them. Be ready to compete with those already on the ground, work passionately and be creative until you achieve your goal”. To the existing entrepreneurs, this is what she says, “there are times when things will get so tough in business. Do not give up. Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Consider diversifying your business. Work and work and work! Above all put God first”.
Modest appreciates the business development support she receives from the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (SMEDI). “I am so grateful to SMEDI for being so supportive of my business. SMEDI has assisted in improving product quality by providing business advisory services. I have also benefited immensely from the partnership that is there between SMEDI and the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) to pay the 50% discount on the cost of product certification and also get trained in FOOD AND PERSONAL HYGIENE. My business, Mosar Foods, boasts of having a product pre-certification. I say KUDOS to SMEDI”, adds Modester.