by Eleanor Ayuketah
A trip to the United Kingdom in 2009 got Cameroonian Reneta Nwonori Ndisang thinking about how she could earn a living. “I spent my time moving up and down the Derbyshire Westfield mall noticing young people like me trying to do small jobs to earn money. I wanted to be that kind of person. So when I returned to Cameroon, I had to pick up something for myself. I studied Human Resource Management but, growing up in the midst of fashionistas from my mum to my uncles and aunties, I decided to be a fashion designer.”
That was 2010. Today, Reneta is the owner of Mareta West and Buea Fashion Week, two businesses located in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon. Mareta West is an online fashion brand, that makes eco-friendly designs for its clients. Buea Fashion Week is an event brand that seeks to promote fashion in Cameroon. It also promotes the introduction of arts and fashion to the younger generation.
Reneta is boss to three employees at Mareta West. Beginning the business was not easy as she had to use her savings to start up. Her biggest challenge was finance as, back then, many Cameroonians were not so in to fashion. “No matter how slow things were, I did not give up.”
Another challenge Reneta faced was the finishing on the dresses she made. “I never went to a fashion school but with social media now acting as part of my education and, with some great clients who tell me, ‘Oh you have to work on this or that’, I think I am making great improvements this year.”
After over six years of fashion designing, a confident Reneta sees herself at higher heights in five years’ time, “My name will be on everyone’s lips; I see bigger celebrities wearing my clothes on red carpets and international designers and bloggers coming to Buea Fashion week.”
“When I smile, it wipes away all my fears.”
From her successes at business, she’s learned not to give up. Failures on the other hand have taught her that “Even if you fall, you have to pick yourself up and move on.” Failure has also made Reneta learn to listen to people especially when it comes to mistakes she’s made.
Reneta’s mother helped to shape her life and career choices since she taught her that she could be a strong woman if she believed in herself. She frowns at the fact that in Cameroon and Africa at large, some people still think a woman’s place is in the kitchen. “They don’t want to believe that women can be CEOs.” Ever optimistic, Reneta believes the attitude towards female entrepreneurs is changing in Cameroon.
Her advice to other women planning to venture in the fashion industry is, “Don’t give up. Believe in yourself. Yes, you can do it!”
To Cameroonian women interested in starting any business, she says, “Keep doing what you are doing. Be determined, be brave and be strong. The journey may take years but one of those years, someone out there will raise your hands up for the world to see. Don’t fake it; be real.”
You can contact Reneta through the following social media:
- Facebook: Buea Fashion and style week
- Instagram: Buea fashion week
- Facebook: Mareta West
- Instagram: officialmaretawest