30 June, 2017. Samoa – Artistry, creativity and enduring style are the trademarks of the Nelly Samoa brand of handcrafted jewellery that was showcased at the S.B.E.C Trade Fair earlier this week.
Well known for its signature design of red lopa necklaces and earrings, this family business was buzzing with customers eager to browse their stall of colourful and unique jewellery.
Managed and run by a talented family, this business idea all started almost 10 years ago by the woman her self, Nelly. Her daughter and Business Manager, Arlene Godinet, said,
” We started off from scratch, we never took out a loan to start our business. It’s my mother, my sister and myself that make all the jewellery, and sometime my mothers’ sister that helps us. We don’t employ anyone else.”
“Making jewellery was always my mother’s talent, since we were kids we’ve been helping her make jewellery. It’s something she taught us.”
” Our mum used to dance and make dance costumes, this then allowed her to come up with other ideas like jewellery.”
“She also used to make all sorts of handicrafts and sell them all from home.”
This passionate family business has evolved into a reliable source of income. Slow periods earn around $300 per week, with busy weeks earning more than $1000.
“We used to sell our jewellery to big retail stores like Janet’s, Pacific Jewell as well as the Duty Free shops at the airport, but now with more customers, we just sell straight to the customer via our Facebook page, Nelly Samoa. However we are in the process of opening a small shop very soon which will be located in Lepea.”
Nelly Samoa is backed by supportive family here and abroad, “All our family overseas are very supportive of us, my husband as well as my sister’s husband also support us both financially, but the money from this business we are saving it to expand our company.”
According to Ms.Godinet, the biggest challenge that they face, is the numerous ‘copy-cat’ businesses that copy the Nelly designs, and sell them as their own. This can interfere with the flow of customers in their business. ” In the beginning we had many people copying our designs, they still do, but now this problem has motivated us to keep creating new designs and we don’t focus on the copy-cats, we just take it as a compliment, that they really like our products.”
Nelly Samoa currently has local suppliers that supply the majority of the lopa seeds. Shells and other materials are also supplied from Hawaii.
“We have to drill small holes in each lopa seed in order to thread the wire through, at the moment we are waiting for my other sister to bring a supplementary drill from overseas. When we drill the lopa, it hurts our hands, but we are passionate about what we do, so we carry on.”
“Our motivation and inspiration is our mum. We carry on creating jewellery because this is our passion. We love to do this.”
“The money that we earn goes straight into buying supplies for us, we can hardly save much, but what we do save we are keeping it to stock up our shop one day.”
The colourful collections of jewellery by Nelly Samoa can be ordered over their facebook page @Nelly Samoa, or contact them on numbers 7657492 or 7249469.
The Small Business Enterprise Centre Trade Fair is an annual event and it is made possible through funding from the New Zealand government, the government of Samoa and other vital sponsors.
Reporter with Samoa Planet.