I met Eva of Balungi at a lovely Saturday market and was immediately attracted to her table of beautiful necklaces, bracelets and earrings made from natural, organic recycled Ugandan materials such as barkcloth, banana fiber, newspaper,etc.
Here Eva shares the Balungi story all inspired by beauty.
Eva Mynsberghe, Balungi
Can you tell us a little bit more about Balungi, how it started?
Balungi is a family business. It started way back when I was young by my mom and since I was young my mother raised me up with the beauty of Uganda’s nature. We just fell in love with it!
The potential of Uganda’s natural materials is way bigger than people think. The creativity of Balungi with Uganda’s treasures is endless just research and maintaining the products were a big challenge. Balungi’s ideologies are environment, sustainability and a passion for beauty made in Uganda. Through Balungi’s principles it is quite obvious they combine
recycled materials with Ugandan materials.
Balungi is not an NGO. But they are definitely benefitting the Ugandan economy because Balungi purchases the natural materials from Ugandan markets and the incoming money is reinvested in salaries, Ugandan materials, broadening the company, etc.
But how it really started is just a passion for BEAUTY and Nature.
And you’re also supporting local designers?
Definitely we are looking for more dynamic designers with a passion for Ugandan beauty. Balungi is empowered by a self-motivated team, a fusion of European and Ugandan designers. At the moment, we have a brilliant Uganda designer, who is already years with us and it is just great fun!
What are some challenges that you faced when you first started?
The biggest challenges we had were our target market, conserving and finishing of our materials. First we had to examine the potential market, so we went to the Friday Market in Juakali village (Nsambya, Uganda) to see the reactions of the Uganda people and tourists. We went there with a small collection of earrings. The reactions were so positive that we decided to widen the collection and to articipate in other cultural events like LABA!, International Woman’s Day, Mexican festival,…and now every Saturday on the market at Prunes Coffee Shop.
Going forward, for you to push on, do you think it is a combination of passion or opportunity?
Definitely passion but I am blessed by the opportunity to lead Balungi. It was always my dream together with my mother that our passion for beauty would become our profession. So I definitely did that because I saw in my course in industrial design where we are heading in Europe is not really my cup of tea. Sometimes they are heading towards something that doesn’t make sense but I definitely think it makes sense what Balungi is accomplishing. Balungi is build up with passion for: beauty, nature,
sustainability and Uganda’s magnificence.
God is there and he is great and that Balungi is becoming quite big is definitely a fruit of hard work.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are starting up?
Actually I think every person should believe in himself, believe in your product, know what you’re busy with, know your target, what potential clients like or don’t like and never go low. You’ve your own company with its ideologies and a strong base leads you throughout. You will always have clients who are happy and clients who will ever complain but one thing I definitely know: always approach your customers in a positive way, keep your principles – no matter what – and in the end everything looks much brighter.