5 Inspirational Samoan Business Women
I attended the Women of the World Festival at the Footscray Community Arts Centre over the weekend. It was such an uplifting experience hearing the women’s inspirational talks as well as witnessing the beautiful dance and poetry from Women all over the world. The festival inspired me to think about whom my role models are and which women motivate me to be a better business woman. So here is a list of 5 inspiring Samoan Business women.
- Marita Wendt
My first inspiring Samoan business woman hooked me when I was attending Samoa College. We would go ka’a (hang out) in town. One of my highlights was going with my friend to see her mum at her shop. It had the most beautiful things in the store and I was at awe with the talent. Fast forward to today, some 20 plus years and the little store in Saleufi has transformed to the Plantation House in Alafua. Not only has Marita Wendt maintained her stylish wares, she has led the way in designing and producing beautiful, high quality products for all.
Photo Credit Zita Martel Facebook Page
- Zita Martel
Many will recognise Zita Martel as the warrior woman who was first woman to lead a fautasi boat team. Zita was also featured in Digicel Samoa’s marketing, but what I find inspiring about Zita is that while she does all of these other things to support her community; she is also a strong force behind her own business, Polynesian Xplorer Samoa Holidays. Knowing that Samoa is a growing tourist destination, Zita tapped into that niche and found her place sharing the beauty of Samoa. Her company has also gone on to develop the first Samoan app that allows travellers to see what restaurants, attractions and businesses Samoa has to offer, that is an inspiring Samoan Business Woman!
- Fiti Leung Wai
Fiti Leung Wai is another inspiring Samoan business woman because of the fast growth of her business, Samoa Stationery and Books. Fiti went from a small store in Tamaligi and in the space of almost ten years has grown to a mega store in the centre of Apia, another branch in Saleufi and Savaii as well as a store in Auckland, NZ. Fiti has literally changed the way Samoans see stationery and electronics. She has also penned several children’s books and opened the educational resources available to the general public. Even with the success of her store, she makes the time to give back to the community by sponsoring sporting events and literacy programs. If you are in New Zealand, make sure to check out Sei Oriana and support Samoan businesses.
Photo Credit Mena Website
I have never felt as pretty as I did when I put on my first Mena Dress. The quality made me feel like a million dollars. The designs didn’t make me feel like I was stuck in a dress that my mother would have picked out for herself. I felt like a Polynesian Queen ready to address her people. The ability to make women feel special in a piece of clothing is a feat that not many can undertake, but one that a group of sisters have completed successfully. Our next inspiring Samoan Business woman is not one, but a family of women. Inspired by their mother and Samoan heritage, Mena, Agnes, Jackie, Gina, and Charlene Loheni have forged paths for other Samoan designers in Samoa and the Pacific.
- Women In Business Development
Our final inspiring Samoan business woman is not a single person but a non government organisation called Women in Business Development (WIBDI). WIBDI saw the value in helping women to form their own businesses and supplement the income for their families. For the last 21 years WIBDI had encouraged women to succeed in business as well as opening up doors for them to do business in Samoa and overseas. The WIBDI have set up a cooperation between the Body Shop and coconut farmers in Samoa where coconut oil is provided for skincare all over the world. This was an inspiration for me to have the set up of Measina where my business is able to assist Samoan businesses all over the world.
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