By Franco Mwachande Jnr and Gibson C Kamanga
She is just 25. To many, she is one of those Malawian versions of femme fatales who are fond of donning Cardi B outfits or in the pool of Nicki Minaj wanna-bes. Lilongwe-based Tamara Tasha Mphande is not.
Whilst most ladies of her age group are busy role-playing the Nicki- Minajs of this world, donning crop tops, Jam suits and what have yous, 25-year-old Tamara Tasha Mphande is busy living her dream.
As most girls her age-group are busy draining the pockets of their boos all in the name of sustaining a Cardi B lifestyle they can’t even sustain, Tamara is deep in her own planet; fine-tuning her fashion designing and tailoring skills.
25 year old Tamara is the youthful face of the 21th century independent lady. At such a youthful age, she is already living her dream. She is raising her entrepreneurial ladder in the world of clothing designs as she is the proud owner of an up and coming clothing line, WarmHeart Wear.
Tamara is no ordinary girl. She is a fighter. Though she is not yet there yet, but she is glad that she overcame her major obstacle along the way; being withdrawn from a local public university. Here how.
It had always been Tamara’s dream to pursue a career in Business Administration, with fashion designing as her pastime activity.
She worked hard and smarter during her secondary school days. No wonder it came as no surprise when she was among the selected few to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration with a bias in Marketing at the-then University of Malawi’s Polytechnic.
“I was super-excited as I was seeing my future beginning to take shape,” she recalls.
Unfortunately, her bliss was transitory. She could not make it to the second year of her undergraduate studies as she was withdrawn on academic grounds.
“I saw my world crumbling in front of me. I really couldn’t know what step to take,” she reminisces.
The turning point
Throughout the pages of history, crying over spilt milk has never produced anything meaningful. That was the path that Tamara had to take.
After that predicament, she accepted her status quo. And she had to make a move. She had to reshape her future and reshaping she did.
Having failed her Plan A (pursuing a career in Business Administration), ever-green Tamara went to her second option; tailoring and fashion designing.
“I had to sober up and face the realities. During my secondary school days I had two career paths I’d wanted to pursue so having hit a ditch in the first option, I had to resort to the second; fashion designing.” She reveals.
When passion meets excellence
Those who have known Tamara would testify that her passion for fashion and designing had been manifested in her at a tender age. She could sew clothes for her dolls back then. She could also design some of her clothes and would tell the tailor the nitty gritty of her needs.
“Having such a background, I knew it was just a matter of time before I hit the jackpot. So, I had to perfect my skills in this industry,” she dreamed.
It was such an afterthought that enterprising Tamara went into a soul-searching journey by enrolling with Don Bosco Youth Technical College to for a Diploma in Fashion, Arts and Beauty (Tailoring, Designing and Cosmetology).
Whilst there, she had a stint at Sarah’s Tailoring Shop (in Lilongwe). It was here that her skills were further broadened.
“Whilst there, I managed to convince people and made them my customers. Additionally, I put good use of my off-class periods by making outfits for my clients. In this way, it was easy for me to launch WarmHeart Wear the moment I was graduating around 2017.” She reminisces.
The rise and rise of Tamara’s WarmHeart Wear
Tamara, who has been in the business for a year now, challenges that, overtime, she has garnered expertise necessary for survival in this lucrative industry.
“I am knowledgeable in this business. I have even established a good customer relationship such that most of my customers now believe and trust my work.
People have accepted and trusted me over the years and I built trust in my customers too. I cater for a wide range of customers and I treat them with respect and equality,” she challenges.
True to her challenge, Tamara’s handicrafts are a marvel. She sews and designs different kinds of clothing for different occasions ranging from weddings, engagement and uniforms and a whole ranging of occasions.
Living her dream
Unlike other girls of her age-group, Tamara has a She praises her business claiming table source of income; WarmHeart Wear. Her own blood and sweat. She boasts of having done a number of developments courtesy of her talent. In short, it is her many source of income.
“I am partly fulfilling my dream. I’ve always wanted to be financially stable and I am today. I make enough money to keep me going. I have managed to support my sibling and mother out of the same source,” she says.
WarmHeart Wear is growing. Already, she is becoming a darling to many a fashion enthusiast. Her brand is breaking the boundaries as it is reaching all corners of Malawi.
To fellow ladies
Gone are the days when a woman had to entirely depend on their other half for financial survival. In addition, Tamara advises fellow ladies to awaken their dream by tapping onto their talents and not only wait for white collar jobs.
“The unemployment levels in the country are so high mostly because people have not opened up to change and look other things besides white collar jobs.” She advises.
And typical of entrepreneurs who are destined for greatness, Tamara’s doors are always open for who cares to learn.
“I believe in sharing knowledge and skills. It is for this that I find pride in teaching others my skills and experience I have acquired to people who are willing to learn and depend on their own financially,” said Mphande.
Currently, Tamara is operating from her home in Lilongwe’s Area 49. However, plans are underway to open a shop in town and also expand to other cities country-wide.