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A creative storytelling to launch her textile brand

May 12, 2021

“Never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine.” This is the motto of Hajer Hammami, a young entrepreneur from the region of Siliana, who founded Tomatem Confection – a textile manufacturing business that employs 30 women.

“In every story there is a beginning and, above all, a challenge,” says Hajer. “Mine was to become an entrepreneur. I developed my passion for entrepreneurship with my husband. And with the support of Mashrou3i, I am now realizing my dream step by step.”

When she started her business in October 2019, Hajer had no idea of the know-how required and the difficulties that awaited her to succeed, in a region where opportunities are rather focused in the agricultural sector.

“When I started my project, I had no qualifications in the field, nor experience. After my degree in IT and Management, I devoted myself for several years to raising my children. But what was most important in launching my project was to be able to lead a business in a field that I liked with the support of my husband. We just needed the courage to take the plunge and invest our own money in setting up and preparing our factory.”

As well-organised managers of Tomatem, they divided tasks: Hajer was taking care of the production and management, while her husband focused on sales and marketing.

A few months later, things took a turn for the better when Hajer met the regional expert from the Mashrou3i project. After diagnosing the business needs, the expert started deep dive coaching the entrepreneur.

Hajer first completed a chain manager training course in Sousse where she learned the basics of trade. From this day, she still studies at a distance with her trainer, while practising her lessons with her workers (fabric selection, patternmaking, sewing, screen-printing, control and finishing, etc.).

In addition, Hajer also attended a training session on access to markets and the TUNEPS platform, led by the Mashrou3i expert in Marketing. “This training was essential for the success of my project. I was able to learn how to access the TUNEPS platform in order to be able to participate not only in public tender but also in private ones.”

With the COVID 19 crisis, and travel difficulties due to health restrictions, many businesses in remote areas found it difficult to market their products.

“Following the coaching of Mashrou3i, digital technology now allows us to better target our potential customers and communicate about our products. Marketing, selling and buying online, managing social networks and targeting customers no longer hold any secrets for us.”

Thanks to Mashrou3i’s support in adapting the marketing strategy, Tomatem Confection has focused activities on customised workwear. Customers include companies, municipalities, hospitals and also schools throughout Tunisia, more easily reachable thanks to digital platforms.

Convinced that only effort pays off in success, Hajer is very optimistic about the future. She is already thinking about the opportunity to expand her business with the manufacture of underwear made from organic cotton.