Unemployment continues to be a major challenge and as Batswana continue to look for business ideas, a Maun based craftsman has found his in dried pumpkins.
Banko Pule of Calabash Craft has since found a niche in the crafts business after realizing that it had more potential and that it would sustain him in the long run.
He took the risk and quit his job at a local freight company.
“I wasn’t making much while working for a property moving company. I then decided to look for something else to do to improve my family’s welfare and that is why I ended up being the businessman I am today,” he says with a chuckle.
Pule’s business life began in 1995 when he quit his job.
He relocated to Topisi village where he realized that there were so many natural resources including farming products such as dried pumpkins that were going to waste.
Pule decided to put them to good use and eventually it was the merger of his artistic talent and the desire to start his own business that gave birth to his company, The Calabash Craft.
“When I grew up such farming products were used to make various artifacts and household implements such as cups and calabashes.
I then took advantage of the freely available raw materials and started crafting them into works of art,” he said.
Pule says there was a lot of interest in the artifacts especially among tourists who were passing along the A1 en-route tourist destinations such as Chobe and the Okavango delta.
He then decided to make a strategic move and relocated to Maun where his business further grew.
“It was such a good idea to move to Maun because that is where I made more money and also got noticed by bigger local crafts dealers such as Botswana Crafts who are based in Gaborone.
I supply them together with some curios shops with some of my crafts,” he says with pride.
Last weekend Pule displayed his products at an SMME market day that was organized by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and was held at the Gaborone Secondary School grounds.
“This is just one of the ways that I market my business. I make sure that I attend all the trade fairs when I get the opportunity.
This is where I directly market my products to people and these days more and more Batswana are beginning to show interest in arts and crafts and I sell a lot of my products at events such as these,” he says.
Pule further explains that he does not struggle to get raw materials as he has constant suppliers.
During the plough season he buys pumpkin seeds and distributes to his regular customers and after harvest season they give him whatever is left of the yield.
“There’s plenty of it and together with my assistants that I have personally trained, we get down to business,” he adds.
Pule’s products include cups, vases, calabashes, money boxes and other traditional artifacts that are beautifully crafted with different themes.
For his services Pule may be contacted at 75286548.