Jane Obasa: Her Knitting Skill
“Talent and skill can really create a great impact in one’s life and society as a whole ” says Jane Obasa. A widow and a mother of six, residing in Kisumu, Lolwe estate, believes in self-employment using her skill of knitting to make a living. She tells her experience;
When did you first learn of your talent?
While young, I stayed with my sister whose side job was knitting sweaters and table clothes. I saw it as an interesting hand work and she taught me the basics. After a while, I saw an advertisement in Facebook where someone was training people on how to make any type of home door mats at a small fee. The idea of having to make my own door mat made me go for the training.
I later joined a Facebook group (home arts) where I found people with same interest. I learnt a lot from the posts made in the group and videos capturing steps of making several items. My interest developed daily.
When did you decide to embark fully on the hand work?
After the training, I used to perfect my skills during my leisure time. I got a job as a teacher at Kisumu Junior Academy until 2018. I had planned to open my own school because of the passion I had but before that I had to look for enough capital to help me set up a school. I opted for art crocheting using the skills I had learned. This turned out to be more interesting than I thought before. A lot of people were interested and happy with my hand work. This motivated me to put more focus in enhancing my creativity. This is when I decided to focus on my skills.
Do you still learn new designs?
Yes, actually every day is a learning session for me. Most of my free time, I log on to YouTube just to watch several hand works. Most of my unique designs I get them from YouTube. I download the steps and keenly have them followed. Through this, I add my creativity and come up with unique attractive designs. I also learn from my fellow friends in our Facebook page as they learn from me too.
Wow, this is interesting. So what do you need to come up with several items.
Aah, the basic items include knitting threads, a crotchet, glue (ponal /conta), turpestry to make door mats, different shapes of bottles to make flower vases and decorating vases. These items help in making most of the items like; mats, decorative, lamp shades, clothes, phone holders, brides flower, wedding baskets and more.
How do you advertise your work? How do you get customers?
Personally, I have got my face book page (obaso jane arts and decorative). This is where I mainly advertise all my work. I also use my whatsApp status to expose my talents. Attending several exhibitions to show case my talent and work also helps me get more clients.
What motivates you?
My work keeps me going. I love seeing my progress each day. Individuals who have seen my work really have a positive influence to it and I’m greatful for they keep me moving.
Any challenges from when you began till now?
Of course, in any journey there ought to be challenges. The most recurring challenge is the customer price for my items. My prices range between ksh. 200 to ksh. 1500 depending on the item. Most people feel it’s an easy task and therefore I should lower my prices but truth be told, there is a lot of work and time needed in creating that unique lamp shade or any other item. To add on that, at times I lack enough capital to cater for required materials and this hinders my progress.
How do you see your business few years to come?
Each day I see growth in my work. Having been approached by many groups and individuals to offer trainings, am certain of opening a bigger shop to help hold my progress and use it for classes. As far as am concerned, teaching is still my profession and am positive it will work out to being the best training center for arts and decorations.
Lastly, what is your word of encouragement.
Mmmhh, life gives you who you are. I believe in making a step in what I want to become and therefore you too can do it. Just start, stay focused and dedicated. Everything is possible.