Once upon a curtain…how Juilet Matsitsiro turned a hobby into a thriving business venture

Fitzgerald Munyoro

Curtains are such mundane objects.

They are pieces of cloth that hide our nudity, family drama and property from prying eyes.

Very few people give much thought to the aesthetic of curtains.

Yet a fascination with curtains is what turned Juliet Matsitsiro from an ordinary person to a bonafide legend in Zimbabwean arts and crafts circles.

Matsitsiro has managed to establish a successful curtain, upholstery and interior design business called Classic Collection Curtains.

This is because she has managed to accomplish a feat that many have dismissed as childish folly as soon as the harsh realities of life confronted them; quitting your day job and chasing your dreams.

Her journey to become a successful businesswoman goes back 29 years where she says, curtain designing was a mere hobby and something she did as a favour for her small circle of friends.

“I have been doing curtains for the past 29 years, it started as a hobby, she said.

At the time she said she was pulling triple duty in looking after her young son, going to work and attending night school so that she delves deeper into the world of curtains.

“I used to go to work and then go to college at night just to have knowledge about the curtains. Then I used to do curtains for my friends for free until I got so many orders to the extent that I struggle to meet them all.”

Matsitsiro says that it was at this point that she realized that her clientele was no longer just a circle of friends but had ballooned to include literal strangers and referrals, a realization which forced her to monetize the business.

The decision to commercialize her passion opened an avenues of opportunities for her as she realized that she could also design and supply other mundane household accessories such as cushions and bed linen.

It was also at this time that she crossed the bridge from formal employment to become a full time entrepreneur.

“After commercializing my business, I also went into the business of making cushions and bed linen. I have also ventured into selling fabric for my clientele and I now do the curtains with my own fabric which I used to import,” said Matsitsiro.

She says the Covid-19 lockdown was a herculean challenge for her business as physical contact and travelling was extremely limited.

As a means of countering the adverse effects, she introduced upholstery into the business.

“During the lockdown I introduced upholstery into the business. When compared with curtains, it is not a personalized or nuanced craft. It works with a template so i got orders from there and kept my business afloat but it was still a challenging time.”

The challenges presented by Covid-19 forced her to explore digital marketing as well, a move which she says has paid off in the long run.

“On Facebook we have a page, which now enables us to get clients outside of Harare. On occasions I have gone to Mutare, Gokwe and Victoria Falls to mention but a few places. Social media really helped me expand the business.

Economic analysts have positive news regarding the industry which Matsitsiro is involved in.

A global industry report says that the global window covering market size was valued at USD 27.6 billion in 2018 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 4.2% over the forecast period.

 Robust urban development in economies is likely to drive the market in the forecast period.

The report also attributed expansion in the tourism and hospitality industry as major push factors that are having a tremendous growth on the industry.

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