BY CHRIS ALEX
ALTHOUGH all businesses have different backstories and circumstances, there’s a common thread, the road to business success isn’t easy.
Businesses are to experience hardship, obstacles, detractors and decisions that seem impossible-but with hard work, smart planning, and great ideas everyone can get themselves on the road to success.
Solomon Women recount the story of Sonya Rechenburg a single mother in her mid-30s, who is part Solomon Islands and Germany. She shares her testimony after moving against all odds to secure space for her first-ever business.
After working for Dalgro, she starts up the business which later goes through a Re-Brand from ‘FRANGIPANI ALI CREATIONS’ TO ‘SONS AND DAUGHTERS’. However, just after some successful years together as a couple, she also faced with the tragic loss of her husband.
Sonya got married to her late husband, Ratu who originally came from Fiji to settle in Honiara a long time ago.
“The idea of the tie-dye business was initiated by my late husband, as I always said to my children, the seed was planted by your late father for me, and I am the one that works around it, weed around it, and makes sure that the seeds grow.
“It started because I also have a passion for tie-dye. I usually worked for Dalgro Limited as a Procurement Officer for construction projects but I thought that wasn’t my calling so decided to resign from the company and resume my duties as a housewife, and that was the exact moment I stepped closer to unveiling my dreams of tie-dye business.
“Sometimes I usually lost all of my money to some local tie dye business in town, as I am a regular customer, I use to buy their stuff.
“One day my late husband suggested to me why not try to get into it, learn to do it myself, dye my bed sheet and get into the tie-dye business to earn extra income.
“So I started tie-dyeing but before we went into business, I just do it as part of my daily house cores which I applied to our clothes especially bed sheets and others, then the idea took on.
“While it was my late husband’s idea, I also have a passion for tie-dyeing, so his idea open the door and I began to see the opportunity, I passionately went into it and turn it not only as a hobby but some reasonable income for our family needs and wants,” Sonya recounted.
The story of Re-Branding
“I started around 2019 with a first name labelled ‘Frangipani Ali Creations’.
“At the start, the business was running at a slow pace, as only a few people know about what am doing, so it is very crucial because a business cannot operate well without financial strength, it was not until 2021 with a help of a family friend I was able to go through a re-brand from ‘Frangipani Ali Creations’ to ‘Sons & Daughters’, and at this stage were able to take off financially.
“In 2021, a family friend who is usually very helpful in a sense gave me much inspiration when she commended my business to re-brand, she even gave me the label ‘Sons and Daughters’ which carries a great meaning and a greater destiny for me as it had my name on it and that of my children, it’s like a family legacy.
“For sure I did not attend any formal training in tie-dye, it’s always been my passion, it’s all about self-thought, and with the help of other family members’ advice and also I learn a lot from social media platforms.
“I do tie-dye bed sheets, ice-dye lava-lava, and tie-dye T-shirts and as I operate at home I also attend the pacific crown hotel Sunday market which I brought with me my other products such as earrings tie-dye key tags, tie-dye scrunches. I just recently introduced one of my new products which were ice dye throw pillows and make it unique I came with
“Before my late husband passed away, we already have some bigger plans for our sons and daughters and we were planning to open a shop in and around town so that people can have easy access to our products and services.
Apart from the monthly Sunday market at the pacific crown hotel, I use to host a ‘POP UP’ Market every Saturdays at home.”
The tragic loss becomes a major challenge
“It wasn’t me alone at the early stage of the business, I always have my late husband as my great supporter, and also he was one of my number one fans, my late husband was the module behind all these things getting into its nature.
“Currently, one of the main challenges am facing right now is the logistics side of it, my late husband’s support enable me to do quick delivery services but after he passed away, I always have the problem with my deliveries because I don’t drive, he was used to be my handyman and while I have ideas on new products and new serves he was the person to execute the idea and help me get it done, so this is a big challenge to our small business.
“In the Solomon Islands, we don’t necessarily need education to create or achieve something, the drive that you have in you, if it is passion and you can practice ‘look and learn’ from it, go for it! don’t let anything stop you, we all face challenges in life, the journey will always be tough but don’t let anything stop you, reach for the sky, the sky has no limit. Be consistence and just do what you can do and the rest will fall in place,” Sonya told SOLOMON WOMEN.