Growing up watching her maternal grandmother Abwooli gracefully weave together jewellery in her craft shop in Kabalagala, Claret Baraba did not fathom that she would one day try her hand at craftsmanship and carry on her grandmother’s legacy, albeit in a new company that she now owns.
That and inspiration from a Primary Three teacher who always referred to her pupils by their dream professionals rather than their actual names also pushed her to try out her talents. “Designer,” she was called, rather than Claret Baraba, by her teacher. This gave her a sense of direction. She started out sketching fashionable items then moved to calligraphy and by the time she made it to high school, she was pretty good an artist.
In 2014, Claret started out with Enkwanzi Creations, with a vision to sell handmade jewellery. However, she did not put her products on the market right away. She did not believe they were good enough to attract buyers. It was only until her sister picked interest in her products that she realised there was money machine in her hands.
But before her business had even started walking, it was wound up as she had to concentrate on school.
Today, Claret has bounced back and now trades under the business name Khatimar; an urban form of the Rutoro-Runyakitara word, little heart. It is a name she adopted from her days as a lovely little girl. As a child, she grew up surrounded by creative people and the glue that bound them together was the love they shared. The younger children in the family were often called katima kange by their elders.
When she went looking for a new business name to re-brand herself and bounce back, she couldn’t look any further than the passion she had for her talent hence the name Khatimar. And that is how her business was born, again.
As a professional Digital Marketer, Claret has gone on to sell necklaces, gents’ apparel and other accessories on Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, since she bounced back into business in March 2017. Twitter and WhatsApp Stories have been her biggest gateway to her customers. She always gets positive responses whenever she puts up a post about her products. She has chosen to use WhatsApp as one of her marketing tools because it is one phone application nearly every Ugandan with a smartphone uses on a daily basis.
Currently, Claret hopes to continue growing her brand slowly but steadily; she is in no rush. Her skillset is enormous but she wants to take baby steps. She intends to grow her product line with time.
At the moment, she uses silk thread, beads and plans to start using leather in the near future to make her products. She describes her designs as Afro-Urban inspired; she sees them easily cutting across, never mind the raw material used.
She has opted to explore her talents from the confines of her home. She looks to peace and calm for inspiration to make her products. All it takes her to work her magic is soothing music and voila, a new design and product is born, every other day. She does not wait for a customer to ask her for what is new in stock but comes up with a new design every two days in wait for the question to pop up, about what new designs she has in store.
All this she goes about on her own; she has chosen to fly solo on this journey, for now. Her business is currently a one man (or better still, one woman) show. It has not been easy for her to find someone as proficient as herself, who is interested in craftsmanship, to take under her wing. Most of those she finds capable of jumping onto her train have set their sight on scooping a job in the corporate world. But she hopes there will one day be a team churning out Khatimar products.
Khatimar is more than just a business and brand for her at the moment. It’s etched in her blood. “Kano katima kange (this is my love),” she says. She derives satisfaction from coming up with new designs every now so often. She takes joy in the works of her hands being appreciated (and bought) by others. Her vision is to grow her passion into a fully-fledged fashion house that churns out accessories, clothes, jewellery and everything fashion.
To this day, her best moment in business has been receiving an order from someone abroad. And, the day she got five orders in one go. This was the first time she posted her products in a Facebook group page. She did not expect her products to garner as much interest. Getting five orders in an instant sent her over the moon.
Necklaces are her best-selling items to this day but it has not always been a smooth sail for her. She often gets cynical customers who are not willing to buy her products at the set price. “I can buy that somewhere else for less,” they often sneer. Unknown to them, they can purchase jewellery made using a similar technique but totally different design. Her secret is her unique designs.
As a firm believer in exploration of talents and entrepreneurship, Claret encourages everyone to try their hands at their heaven sent talents; with time, they will become the best there can be at it and in return create opportunities for other people.
Check out Khatimar’s social media accounts for more
You can also place an order via email@example.com or +256 776 850866