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Neeleshni Devi’s Rise with Craft Angels

Inspired by art tutorials on YouTube and driven by a passion for sustainability, Neeleshni Devi embarked on her entrepreneurial journey, establishing Craft Angels.

For the past eight years, Ms. Devi has been dedicated to her crafting business. Her business is located in Tavua Market, right in the heart of Tavua town. The 41-year-old uses waste and recycled materials to create her artworks.

Ms. Devi crafts a wide range of products, including Salusalu, garlands, flower bouquets, resin earrings, keychains, jewelleries, hair accessories, posters, face masks, wedding platters, wall hangings, stationery holders, signage posters, greeting cards, birthday cards, special occasion cards, celebration cards, ornaments, and 3D crafts. She utilizes materials like potato sacks, nylon rope, cotton string, shells, buttons, waste papers, ribbons, glass and plastic bottles, and more in her creations.

“I began my craft business with no prior knowledge or experience, but I’m grateful that today, people recognize both me and my art,” she said.

Ms. Devi said that she was once an ordinary housewife who started her business with just $7, earned from selling vegetables.

“When COVID-19 hit, my sales dropped a lot, and I was about to close my business. But my oldest daughter encouraged me to keep going, so I didn’t give up,” she said.

Ms. Devi mentioned that there are always ups and downs in her business sales, but with the support of her four daughters, she is working hard to thrive in her business.

Business Assistance Fiji (BAF) and Business Link Pacific (BLP) assisted her in preparing the financial statements for her business for the years ending in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Ms. Devi was linked with one of the BAF/BLP Business Advisory Service Providers (BASP) Mr. Pravin Anand, the owner of Small Medium Enterprise Solutions, who prepared the financial statements for her business.

“I extend my gratitude to BAF and BLP for their support in preparing my business’s financial statement. This experience has enlightened me on the importance of maintaining proper financial records for my business,” she said.

Ms. Devi is now maintaining a proper record of every transaction she does for her business.

“Regardless of your business’s size, maintaining financial records is crucial as these financial statements will determine if we are making a profit or loss in our business and how we can improve our sales,” she said.

Using the financial statement, Ms. Devi was able to apply for the BLP Business Support Grant. She is one of the recipients of the BLP Business Support Grant.

 “I extend my heartfelt thanks to BLP and BAF for their invaluable support,” she said.

With the grant money, Ms. Devi will buy the materials essential for crafting and exploring new techniques she learned. This will make her products better and help her business grow.

Ms. Devi is continuously motivated to learn and expand her business. Last year, she took part in an E-commerce Training organized by BAF in Tavua. She learned the importance of promoting her business and having a social media page.

Ms. Devi’s commitment to learning continued when she attended the MSME Conference at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on March 7-8.

This conference provided a platform for MSMEs like Ms. Devi to connect with industry experts, exchange ideas, and gain insights into emerging trends and best practices in the MSME sector. By participating in discussions and networking, Ms. Devi broadened her knowledge in expanding her business.

“I think it’s great that organizations like BAF and BLP offer these trainings and workshops for small businesses. It gives MSMEs a chance to learn and use what they learn to improve their businesses,” she said.

Ms. Devi advises MSMEs that BAF/BLP is available to assist them, and they should visit the BAF office to learn about the services offered to MSMEs.

To see what financial services are available to your business and whether your business or project qualifies, visit https://about.businesslinkpacific.com/what-are-blps-finance-services-support/

ENDS

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