CBI's Market Intelligence: Moyo Designs
An interview with Ayesha Mawji, CEO of Moyo Designs, a Tanzanian company specialised in home decoration and textiles.
My firm, Moyo, is an East African design house: we create home décor and try to capture a modern Swahili style. My background as an entrepreneur is quite odd: I’ve always been a photographer. The structuring of a business was completely new for me. I had no system in place. When the economy in Tanzania slowed down, I had to start looking at the possibilities of exporting my products. That is where the CBI website and market information reports have proved incredibly valuable to me. The way the tools are designed is very accessible, so even a lay person like me, without a background in commerce or economics, could use them.
How did the CBI website and tools help you?
Doing research has taught me things I didn’t even know were important before. Corporate Social Responsibility in my sector is one of those things. In Tanzania, there are virtually no requirements on producing textiles. There are many dyes that the EU does not accept for import, for instance. The CBI tools helped me find alternative solutions and meet international standards.
Also, my product range is quite labour-intensive. I now know to look for smaller boutiques as customers because smaller boutiques are more willing to pay the extra costs than bigger chains. And a third example: my product range is quite colorful and quirky. The CBI market information reports taught me that bright oranges and pinks were probably not going to work in Europe, while my greens and blues would work much better.
Ayesha Mawji 's advice for fellow entrepeneurs
- Use the tools CBI provides. They helped me to be competitive. My pricing, product styling, how I organize my production—everything is so much better because of those tools.
- Research can be tedious at times. So you really have to be dedicated to make it work.