Angela Moudjasiri

I started Mushka’s Gifts almost 10 years ago, it was an on and off part-time job until 2018 when it became a full-time job. It’s a home-based cottage industry that makes handmade Gift Bags, Cards, Gift tags, Bookmarks and Notebooks and recently we started making pouches and tote bags. Mushka’s Gifts was born from a lifelong passion for Arts and Crafts. I’ve loved paper crafts since I could remember and I can’t really explain why. I started to make cards for my friends since I was in class three, and the best thing was my mother was very supportive and she’d buy me colours, glue and most of the things I needed specifically for that. In 2007, just a year after completing high school a neighbour spotted me making a gift bag for a friend right outside our house and asked if I could make several for him though he wanted them to have an African theme, ‘maybe put a bead or something’ he said. I was doing odd jobs then, because my mother couldn’t afford to take me and my two older siblings to college all at the same time, so this seemed like a great opportunity for me to earn an extra coin and that’s how my journey with the Gift Bags began. He loved the bags that I made and later that year he introduced me to his cousin who was and still working at the Blue Rhino Gift Shop at the Village Market. She loved my bags and I’ve been supplying them with the gift bags since then. Later she asked if I could make cards that were similar to the bags and I did. All along I did this as a part-time job, I was employed several times until December 2011, by then I had saved enough money to start a small business (my initial plan was to save money to go college but that wasn’t possible). I opened up a small computer shop did the basic computer services and sold accessories but four months down the line it wasn’t working for me, I had bills and rent that I had to take care of and what I was getting from the business wasn’t enough, so I closed shop and moved to Matuu where my brother had already settled to ‘try out something new’. All this time I wanted to work on the gift bags and cards and expand, maybe look for another shop to supply to but I didn’t, I was scared, I didn’t think people would like them and I wasn’t sure that it would have been a sustainable business. So after a while in Matuu I opened up another business, this time I dealt with beauty products and accessories. It wasn’t doing so well but it wasn’t bad either. Things however changed when I gave birth to my daughter, I felt overwhelmed and I also wanted to spend more time with her so in mid 2017 I closed my business again after my husband advised me that it would be much easier to work from home if I wanted to spend more time with our daughter and also that it was time I did something that I actually like – that’s the best advice I ever got. 
I did exactly that, I concentrated with the gift bags and cards, I also started making gift tags, book marks and notebooks, I also got to employ a lady who’d come to help out a few days of the week and actually it was this lady’s hard work and diligence that really motivated me to work even harder, she’s a single mother and very hardworking, clearly she needed the job ( I understand because I’ve been raised by a single mother). We worked together and  when my daughter started school I decided to do some marketing in order to get  more orders because suddenly this job was not just my hobby any more, it was this lady’s job and she needed it so she could earn a living, we both did. Later on I came to learn about some of the flea markets on social media and decided to go to one. The first flea market I attended was at the Alchemist in westlands that was hosted by the Sama Eden in November 2017. I was so scared at the beginning but it turned out to be a great day, people actually loved my products, I even sold out on some items. It was an eye opening experience; I got to interact with the customers and fellow vendors. Since then I’ve been able to attend various flea markets and exhibitions, I got to open social media pages and I’ve been able to employ two other women,  one of whom am actually teaching how to sew the pouches and tote bags. They all work four days a week unless we have a big order. They work from Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm– I chose the hours because they’re parents with school going children and I think that’s flexible for them.
We still supply to the Blue Rhino Gift shop and now we also supply at the Banana Box Co. and Kapu Gift shop, we also get individual orders, we also go to various flea markets and pop up shops for marketing purposes, plus right now its not just about me any more its about these amazing hardworking women who also love what they do and would like to earn a good living from it. I’d love to change their lives and hopefully many other women some day, I know I might not be able to make their lives better but atleast I can try to improve them with time.
And that’s Mushka’s Gifts ‘ Story.

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