BY CHRIS ALEX
BORN and raised in Gizo Island, Western Province, the remote region of the Solomon Islands is Margaret Qae, a former secondary mathematics teacher, who later turned entrepreneur.
With an artistic background in the art of cloth dyeing, Margret with her younger sister Eve Qae, is both fabric dyers who have previously made their way into the retail fashion business sector of the country.
With the recent opening of a new dye shop at the AJ Mall Building in Lunga, east of Honiara, Margaret’s entrepreneurial journey and spirit is a true testament to her unwavering commitment, support, determination, and deep-seated love for the art of cloth dyeing.
Growing up with natural talents for creativity, Margret, 41, and her sister explored the art of cloth dyeing during their teenage days. However, it was Margret that played a pivotal role in influencing and mentoring her sister to continue with the art and passion of dyeing clothes, whilst she opted to pursue further studies in teaching.
“Over the years, despite I switched my concentration to my teaching profession, I continued to support my sister’s ambition as a cloth dyer,” she told SOLOMON WOMEN.
Despite Margret’s commitment to teaching, her fascination with clothes never diminished. She constantly experiments with new ideas and new ways to create unique colors, patterns, and designs.
In 2022, after years of dedication and commitment to the education sector, Margaret made the bold decision to bid farewell to her teaching career and focus on establishing a small business earlier this year.
This strategic move reflects Margaret’s unwavering commitment to providing her customers with an even more accessible and convenient location to explore the myriad of colors and designs her shop has to offer.
Under the business name ‘MQB Dye Shop’, Margret not only specializes in sales of dye accessories, hand-dye, and tie-dye fabrics but also provides basic skills training for women interested in different types or styles of dyeing lava lavas.
“As an entrepreneur, I want to provide skills training for women interested in the art of dye lava lavas, especially to empower them so that they could establish their small businesses or even go into money-generating activities to support their family and livelihood,” she said.
Likewise, impressed by Margaret’s strength and determination is MQB Dye Shop’s employee and tailor, Ellen Labuvolo, who described her boss (Margret) as a mentor with a firm commitment to empowering women.
“The support and guidance provided by Margaret have not only enhanced my tailoring skills but has also created an avenue for me to generate income to sustain my livelihood and also to gain recognition in the country’s urban setting,” she told SOLOMON WOMEN.
After all, the idea to venture into business not only signifies the establishment and growth of MQB Dye Shop but also demonstrates Margaret’s unwavering dedication to empowering women. Now that her sister had joined the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme in New Zealand, Margaret continues to drive the business forward.
At the moment, Margret’s remarkable story serves as a reminder that when passion, talent, and unyielding dedication come together, dreams can flourish, and artistic aspirations can transform into thriving businesses.