The real thing

Kevin McQuil­lan meets an en­tre­pre­neur cre­at­ing and sell­ing au­then­tic PNG gifts.

Paradise - - Strictly Business -

The dif­fi­culty in find­ing au­then­tic Pa­pua New Guinea-made gifts for friends and col­leagues over­seas prompted An­nette Sete to cre­ate her own fash­ion jew­ellery line. Two years on, her Lav­a­girl brand is look­ing to ex­pand over­seas.

“I started Lav­a­girl Jew­ellery about two years ago to com­ple­ment my ladies’ cloth­ing line of the same name, which was part of the prod­uct line of gifts tar­get­ing vis­i­tors to East New Britain,” says Sete.

The jew­ellery range, which uses nat­u­ral and re­cy­cled lo­cal prod­ucts, in­cludes ear­rings, neck­laces, bracelets and ban­gles, hair pieces/ clips, and an­klets.

The women’s cloth­ing line has been so suc­cess­ful she is now work­ing on a men’s cloth­ing range.

“We also make gifts of var­i­ous kinds and home decor pieces like can­dle hold­ers, flower vases, bas­ket purses, bilums, scarfs and shawls,” she says.

Lav­a­girl prod­ucts are mar­keted and sold though her mar­ket­ing busi­nesses, TMC and Maku Gifts.

What started as a home-based busi­ness, with Sete do­ing all the de­sign, cre­at­ing, mar­ket­ing and sell­ing, has now ex­panded.

“There are 10 fam­i­lies work­ing with me on a full-time ba­sis: four on mak­ing jew­ellery and gifts, two on sew­ing, a shop as­sis­tant and three on bead­ing and or­ders.”

She is also tap­ping into women who make and sell jew­ellery at craft mar­kets.

Lav­a­girl jew­ellery and gifts are sold through the Gazelle In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel and Bi­las Hotspot in Kokopo, Wan­tok Cloth­ing at Vi­sion City Mall in Port Moresby and at the Jack­sons In­ter­na­tional Air­port. In Lae, Sete sells through Pasi­fika/ Kenny Col­lec­tions at the new Brian Bell Cen­tre and she has an agent in Madang.

I’d like to see our prod­ucts on sale in other Pa­cific coun­tries.

The Maku gift range is sold through Face­book, while the Lav­a­girl range is sold through Tic­tac. “Most of the sales were through so­cial me­dia ini­tially,” she says. “We are dis­cussing a pos­si­bil­ity with a cou­ple of re­tail­ers in Cairns and Bris­bane, and I’d like to see our prod­ucts on sale in other Pa­cific coun­tries. Cur­rently turnover is about PGK150,000 a year, she says. ■

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