The real thing
Kevin McQuillan meets an entrepreneur creating and selling authentic PNG gifts.
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. ■