Single mother Lusia Managreve took advantage of the Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day celebration at the Albert Park in Suva on Monday to earn extra money for her family.
Managreve, who is by profession a Rotuman contemporary artifacts crafter said she was able to sell around $300 worth of handmade traditional items such as ladies’ bags, jewellery and Fijian Iri (fan) at the celebration.
“I’m usually based at FNPF Plaza in Suva and I got to know about the holiday and knew that I won’t be able to do business because the town will be closed.”
“It was a bit disappointing because I have to look after my two sons on my own and this is the only way to earn income plus the price of groceries is very expensive but God has his own way of miracles.”
“On Saturday, I got to know that we can bring our handicraft here and sell it here. I came early and settled at my table really quickly this morning. I have managed to sell more than $200 of items to the visitors here.”
The 48-year-old revealed that she has been doing the artifacts business for the last 10 years and this year, she was able to make a lot of profit.
“Whatever artifacts I sell, tell some kind of historical Rotuman story and a lot of foreigners contact me to buy these things.”
“Business was very slow in the last three years because of COVID and the border closure which didn’t allow tourists to come. I faced a lot of difficulties in earning money but then I started to make soap and sell jewelry online which helped a little.”
“Since this year, I feel I have started to make double the profit on the items I sell because a lot of tourist boats are coming.”
Managreve added fulfilling the demand of customers in the busy period is a major challenge she undergoes at times.
“The demand for the artifacts has increased because people have started to travel overseas and when Fijians travel overseas, they usually take artifacts for their families.”
“As a single mother, it’s hard to manage my household chores, I have to get my children ready for school and then weave bags and make jewelery.”
“I’m fortunate that my sons assist me in the jewelry making during the school break since they know the process. My aim is to open up my Rotuman handicraft shop in Suva because I love this business and it’s really impressive to see people sharing my culture.”