Designer of bride and bridesmaid gowns feels economic hardship as Covid-19 impacts bite |29 May 2021
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread in our communities, its impacts on businesses, especially the smaller ones, are being more strongly felt and there are small entrepreneurs who see the end of the month approaching but bringing in no sufficient income to settle the monthly bills.
Santasha Hoareau, a well known local designer of bride and bridesmaid gowns and attire for different occasions, has not been spared.
The young woman, who has been conducting her business from her home for some seven years now, said the pandemic really hit her hard after most of her clients cancelled their bookings or postponed for later as wedding ceremonies and other social events were suspended indefinitely.
“It was really painful to see your business, which was doing reasonably well, suddenly starts to fizzle out as your clients one after another postponed their bookings for later or cancelled them indefinitely,” Santasha said.
Speaking to Seychelles NATION this week, Santasha explained that she took a loan before Covid-19 struck to expand her sewing business.
When Covid-19 hit last year and as business started to decline, the mother of three said she struggled and she had started to feel the toll of the pressure.
“There were months when I did not collect any money at all and it was really hard for me and I had started to feel depressed but I did not lose hope. I pulled myself back together. I got a few sets of uniforms for a small business, some church choir gowns as well as a few ordinary clothes and with these I managed to meet some of my monthly expenses,” Santasha said.
Additionally in August last year to meet some Covid-19 health requirements, she had to remove her business from the main family home.
She got a little help from her husband’s compost business to accommodate her sewing workshop in a container some distance away.
Recently she has received a couple of bookings for wedding dresses but very simple ones and most without any bridesmaid gowns.
“I have received only around five bookings for the remaining of the year and these are for simple wedding gowns except for one set for later in the year which will include bridesmaid gowns,” she said.
Furthermore she noted that at the beginning of the year, with schools that were closed, parents were not able to purchase material for their children’s uniforms so there again she missed out.
To add to her woes, the young woman said her three children – aged 13, eight and six – were at home as school closure had been extended and she had to spare time for home schooling which again impacted heavily on her sewing. Currently she is facing the same dilemma as school holidays had been extended.
“It is really hard with the children as I have to spare time to help them with their lessons, the constant supervision that they require and all this even though I enjoy doing, leave me with less time to concentrate on my sewing and to source out more business,” Santasha said.
She noted that hopefully now that school will soon resume she will have more time to better organise herself.
But even with all these challenges, Santasha is very hopeful. With the help of her husband, who is also self-employed as an excavator operator, the family has managed to survive. Additionally her husband’s compost business has picked up a bit as many people are at home and they are doing home gardening hence an increase in demand for compost.
Santasha said in spite of all their current financial difficulties she is thankful for the small amount of sewing business that trickles in every now and then.
“I am hopeful that God will continue to provide even though in small drops and I am thankful for what I get and I pray that the Covid-19 situation will ease and business will pick up and gradually things will improve for us all,” Santasha said.