Monday, December 11, 2017

Meet Madam Ursula

Meet the lovely Madam Ursula. If you follow our Facebook page, you will already know a little about Madam Ursula through our BICAF and beyond videos. However for anyone who hasn't, this is your chance to hear about this amazing individual.

Madam Ursula is a beading and craft-work entrepreneur, who has her own business - UD Beads and More - in Bolgatanga. Madam Ursula began her business in Accra in 2009, where she learned how to do beading. From there she moved her enterprise up to Bolgatanga, and has been operating there for the last four years. Although she predominantly sells beads in the form of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and footwear, she has also expanded her business to include handbags, purses and backpacks - many of which are made out of recycled materials. "This is the way we are trying to help clean Ghana" she says to us while we are visiting her shop "...by way of also making money" she laughs.

These cute bags are unbelievably made out of scraps of fabric, plastic bags and water sachets!

Not only is she a big user of recycling within her products, she also like to use recycled products personally as well. "My everything is recycling, my dressing bag, my necklace..." She is very creative with her work, for example she takes water sachets and crafts them in to reusable waterproof purses/wallets for money and mobile phones. Furthermore, she supports the women in her local community by employing them to make bags for her shop out of scrap fabric and plastic bags. When we asked her about her inspiration for her products she explained that it comes for all around her. "Sometimes you might see a design somewhere and you do it, sometimes you create your own design" she explains, "the more I do, the more ideas that come to me".

Our volunteer Pera modelling one of Madam Ursula's backpack

Madam Ursula is very big supporter of our project and the work we do - especially the craft fair which we hold at the end of each year, Bolgatanga International Crafts and Arts Fair. She has said on many of occasions how much BICAF has help her and her business through the 4 years shes been in Bolgatanga, and she is also first to offer her help when we are trying to encourage more people to get involved. 

Madam Ursula has participated in BICAF since the very beginning in 2014. Her first taste of BICAF was with her brother-in-law who was a registrant at the time and was selling leather crafts, when he let her join his stall to sell a few of her items. It was during this experience she saw first hand what BICAF was about and it motivated her to participate and register for the next year...and then the next, and the next! 

"It helped to sell me out!" she explains, as she tells us how by distributing her cards at the event, she began to receive more customers in her shop all year round. Her advice to new vendors that are not sure about participating was that it is not about making a few sales that day of attending its about the long lasting connections you make with sellers and also other vendors as well buy potentially networking with them and partnering with them. This is not the only way she is supporting her fellow business people in Bolgatanga. Madam Ursula has at various times been one of the first people to volunteer and share her story through the media and encourage others to become involved in BICAF. She also was first to volunteer- without even being asked- to interview her fellow BICAF registrants in the local dialect over the microphone while attending BICAF herself, and help to bring attention to their enterprises and products. 

Madam Ursula interviewing a fellow vendor at BICAF
Our team has been very lucky to get to know Madam Ursula during our time in Bolgatanga, and I think it is safe to say we are all inspired by her attitude and spirit towards her business. Her products are beautiful, eco-friendly and made with passion, and we would all recommend a trip to her shop (at the Regional Hospital junction) if you are passing through Bolgatanga. 

Written by Brandon Crabtree and Emma Caldwell 
Edited by Emma Caldwell 


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