Arlette Dushime is a married woman passionate about fashion since her early age. Born in Burundi, she lived a part of her childhood in Kenya. One of her favorite pastimes was creating something stunning from small things. Her wildest dream was to create her own business by bringing to life all her creations. After she graduated in computer science at the Light University of Bujumbura and six years of experience in administrative field and customer service in Mount Kenya University Burundi, she thought about creating her own business Du’She that she has been managing officially for a year.
“Du’She is a company born from a passion of creating unique and easy to wear designs”, confides Arlette. Inspired by two cultures that she had been be exposed to as a young girl, she, therefore started transforming and creating Du’She designs in 2021 using raw materials found locally in Burundi. “The aim was to seek promoting culture through locally made products”, she underlines.
Arlette started with collections of handbags, accessories, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, home decor and recently she introduced ready to wear clothes in their collections.
All starts by a dream
Dushime’s dream is from 2015. With her first ideas of jewelry creations at that time, her creations were made only for her family or friends. She used also to give advice of clothing for her close friends and family members. It wasn’t until 2020 that she started creating and selling her creation to few peoples whilst with 2021 she decided to full devote her time to her company Du’She.
“The first reason was to create a fashion brand made in Burundi and offer to others the possibilities to wear easy and modern African culture clothes inspired my creations and therefore promote my native culture through my creations. The second reason was to create jobs for me and others and therefore contribute somehow in the development of my country”, she recounts.
One of her most satisfying situations was when feeling fulfillment while making new creation and give it to her friends. “I realize I could create jobs and increase my income out of it by reaching many people. Hence, I knew that one day I will bring my dream to life and attain all my goals.”
What does define her satisfaction today?
Bringing to life a design and creating new creation she had in mind, being able to answer to her customers’ needs, and contributing in the economy of my country are among the things Arlette likes in his work. “Here in Burundi, we faced and we are still facing a lot of obstacles. The increasing cost of procuring raw materials is one of the biggest challenges alongside inefficient supply chain and distribution, environmental and social impact of fashion in Burundi. Burundians haven’t cultivated yet the mind of wearing made in Burundi products”, she regrets
To overcome all the challenges, Arlette proceeded in learning more about the business of fashion which include so many aspects of the business. “By doing this we move slowly but surely by working with one or two trustful suppliers. Searching and learning how to make bigger stock for our raw materials, participating and networking with others entrepreneurs, using social media for our visibility are also among solutions to the challenges we’re facing.”
Very promising future prospects
In her long-term project, Arlette intends to create her own company’s factory. “My biggest dream will be getting an opportunity to do so, and getting the support to learn skills and get knowledge and experiences on how other big companies work”, she puts.
As she made her way into entrepreneurship, she confides she would be grateful to live a legacy in this world by making Du’She flourishing. “I would be happy if peoples remember me as a person who has used her passion to make difference in her country and even for other countries.”
According to Arlette, entrepreneurship is not easy for it is demanding in terms of efforts more than one can imagine. “It requires more patience and more focus and more work for small result.”
Hence, she urges others especially young ladies to think of entrepreneurship. “Start with what you have, and where you are, and make something out of it. In order to gain finance independence, entrepreneurship is an option you can take into account.”