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Floral making now a lifetime employment

BY: Arku Jasmine

Mrs Marley exhibiting her floral skills at her shop.Indeed, floral making and decoration has become a lifetime employment to hundreds of people. Such enterprises and training centres have sprung up nationwide and trainees spend between three months and a year to learn the art of making decoration and floral arrangement.
Some analysts have said the sector should be supported and developed to absorb the unemployed youth and graduates.

An industry player, Mrs Joana Marley said so far as social gatherings or events such as funerals, naming ceremonies, weddings and lately graduation, are part of the Ghanaian lifestyle, and largely the African, the sector has prospects to contribute to economic growth.

“The important thing is to organise and regulate the sector to derive the full benefits,” she said.

If you are a regular visitor to La, a suburb of Accra, then you will be familiar with “Make a Difference Celebration,” with the amazing floral designs and decoration created by Mrs Joana Marley, founder of the company.

Sharing her experiences with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS during a skill training programme by the Christian Mothers Association (CMA), a non-governmental Christian women organisation in the Catholic Church committed to empowering women. , she said from childhood she was inspired to make things with her hand such that in her teens she could sew skirts and others clothing for friends and family using simple thread and needle.

However, this dream was not pursued. While working at the Food Research Institute (FRI) under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), she did sewing alongside after she learnt free hand cutting. But she did not find it so lucrative so called it quit to sew for family and herself only.

More so, anytime she saw people decorating she admired it and so conceived the idea to learn, such that at times she did offer help if the person agreed.

Services she offers

After quitting her formal employment after 14 years, she tried several jobs which included wholesale trading in eggs and herbal medicine but never found satisfaction until she learnt floral and décor making. She also makes hats for all occasions.

However, she stayed home for a year due to ill health and financial challenges. But with support and encouragement from her husband, she began working from home so that the knowledge she has acquired will go stale, and then later put up her shop to begin full time her floral and décor business.

Her business philosophy is to be the best florist and decorator brides and other clients could wish for, each time. She can create anything flower related from bridal party and church flowers to absolutely all types of venue floral decoration, from table centres to amazing hanging spheres of flowers.

Mrs Marley spends enough time learning about her client's preferences and working budget in order not to impose her taste and standards upon them.

“As an interior decorator, you must tread carefully and ensure that the client approves all steps in the process. So far, my family, friends and clients have all admired my flair for decorating and making floral,” she explained.

She normally uses synthetic flowers, fabrics, ribbons,vases/bowls/pots, feathers, floral tapes, balloons and lights etc. She said her inspiration comes from then Lord though she learnt how to make the arrangements in school. Each day, she reflects and goes before the Lord to ask for direction to do an arrangement that would be unique.

Within 30 minutes she can put up about four pots of floral designs. Since the decorating industry is not a static field, she tries to keep up with the latest trends. For the hats, her raw materials include jute, linen and burlap fabric among others.

Each project has a deadline. Sometimes, she meets her deadline without major problems or delays but there are situations where painters or electricians encounter difficulties that impact on her time.

In all these, she maintains her calm and explains these unfortunate delays to clients.

Her Testimonial

Her ultimate pleasure is the praises she receives from clients for all of her works. “I am always satisfied when everything around me looks pretty.

I get more satisfaction when I am being creative. After few years of working with flowers, I have never looked back,” she said.

She believes her works are unique because she does not use only flowers but quality items that add to her arrangement to make her design glow even from a distance. She has no regrets going into floral making and her association with the CMA has greatly nurtured her entrepreneurship desire as a woman through its skill training programme.

Future

Her major ambition is to establish a training centre to train others because people often approach her to train them but she is unable to honour all request because she does not have a bigger space.

She likes to watch movies in her spare time. She called on the younger generation to be humble, get closer to the elderly to learn from them and seek direction. “It looks like most of the youth prefer quick money and do not want to learn any vocation so most end up wasting their time and energy. They must come down and approach the elderly because an elderly person may not be financially stable but rich in experience,” she said.

Family background

Mrs Marley was born in 1967 and is the youngest of five siblings. She is married to Mr Eric Marley, an Accountant with the Ghana Armed Forces and has two children but one is deceased. GB

By Ama Amankwah Baafi/Graphic Business/Ghana

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