Sunday, April 6, 2008


AS a young girl growing up in the village, Repeka Vereti dreamt of making a name for herself in the world of business when she grew up.
She was born and grew up in Tubou, Lakeba, in Lau, where her father comes from. Repeka has two brothers and four sisters.
Her father died when she was in Form Three and her mother still lives in the village.
Repeka attended Ratu Finau Primary School before entering Ratu Mara College.
The idea to become a business woman came from her father, she says. He was a businessman and had a village store in Tubou.
Repeka said she would spend most of her time helping her father run the family business.
When I was in secondary school, from Form 4 to Form 6, every time we had school break, I would go home and help out in our store after my father died and thats how the idea of becoming a businesswoman came up, she said.
When I finished Form 6 on the island, I decided to complete my education in Suva. I managed to get sponsorship for my school fees at Ballentine Memorial School.
She said she faced difficulties and struggled when she didnt have the support of relatives.
While doing my computer studies in 1993, I applied to work during my school break at the Marine Headquarters. When I completed computer studies, I still couldnt find a job and I knew I couldnt rely on my relatives.
It was the turning point for me . I made up my mind that I would stand up for myself and start a business on my own which was the dream I always had as a child.
Out of all the struggle and difficulties she went through, Repeka was able to overcome them and set her foot towards making her dreams come true.
Repeka now runs her own business at the Flea Market in Suva.
She sells Fijian artifacts like Fijian tapa, woven baskets, special garlands (sisi ni Lakeba), mats, Fijian fans and she also does flower arrangements and sews pillow cases.
When you have the heart and the desire to learn more, youll be able to discover new things as you go along, she says.
Before I didnt know how to weave a mat and to do some of the stuff I now sell, but it always interested me and I was willing to learn new things.
Now married with two children, she says, she now has the support of her husband which motivates her to make her business a success.
Im so fortunate to have a lovely husband who supports me in every decision I make. He is always there for me whenever I need him.
On good selling days, she can earn about $700 to $800 a day, which helps her family and her business.
Repeka believes in treating her customers well.
You will only achieve things if you have the heart and the desire that will motivate you to achieve such things, she says.
I always have faith in my business and I make sure that I provide a good service to my customers and I try to satisfy their needs. I believe when you treat them nicely, theyll enjoy your service for the day and maybe return.
My advice to people thinking of starting their own business, is always have a good heart with a smiling face. Dress up properly and present yourself nicely to customers.

Adapted fromFijitimes Online