Patience and Francis, from Elmina, Ghana, Africa, were introduced to Creative Women of the World (CWOW) through a local Fort Wayne woman who visited them in Ghana and was impressed with Patience’s sewing skills. They asked her if she would sell their clothing in the States and she agreed, but she did not really have a way to do that, until she heard about CWOW.
Patience's dresses (pictured above) were worn by models during this years' Empower Her World fundraiser fashion show. Her dresses and skirts are for sale at Creative Women of the World retail store in downtown Fort Wayne.
After being introduced to us, Patience learned about our business development curriculum, Unlocking Your Design (UYD), and was very interested in taking it. Our trainer and founder, Lorelei Verlee, began meeting with both Patience and Francis via Zoom, every Wednesday for six weeks.
In the first UYD module, they discussed their own assets and a vision for a business. Even though she had been sewing, Patience said her true desire was to open a Provisions Store (what we call a grocery store in the States) and wanted to take custom orders for dresses as a side business.
Francis was trying to grow a nonprofit that supported the poor, particularly farmer widows in his community. He and his volunteers help by preparing and planting the widow’s ground and they also provide food for immediate needs. He sat in on the trainings so he could learn too but he is taking college courses online from BYU on nonprofit management.
"They are both very smart but financially insecure. He works for his nonprofit as a volunteer and she has only sold clothing occasionally. I love it when spouses join in because they can support each other in the process," said trainer Lorelei Verlee.
Like many of our trainees, Patience really liked the module on maximizing your money. Five Pocket Accounting is a simple but profound accounting system where they learn to manage all the money that comes in by dividing it into four accounts from where expenses are paid— Labor, Overhead, Purchasing and Future Fund. This system gives them a clear understanding of what their business is capable of spending in each area and reinforces the idea that ALL the money, except for the the money they pay themselves (out of the Labor pocket) does NOT belong to them but is Business Money! When they understand that, you can see the lightbulb go on in their thinking!
Most people, even those who have sold things for years, consider all the money they take in as their own. They put it all in the same pocket, THEIRS! Consequently, they are not prepared when their business has expenses beyond today. When a person has lived in survival mode most of their lives, the concept of hope for the future is an exciting hurdle to overcome.
Through developing her business plan, Patience decided to name her provisions store, FRAPEE (a combination of she and her husband's names). She and Lorelei worked together on her logo and she is excited to create her first sign outside her home where she will start her business.
Want to get involved with Patience and Francis? Stop by the store and try on her dresses; you might find one that fits you perfectly! You can own your own handmade dress from Ghana, made by one of our UYD graduates.
Donations to support our UYD program are always welcome.