Lalhmangaihsangi smiling in her shop
I met Lalhmangaihsangi in her tailoring shop in the central market area of Zarkwot, Aizawl. Her shop was near the main road and quite big in area. She had two sections in her shop, one where her employees sat with their machines and the other where she displayed the cloth and materials from which the customers could select their designs.
As Lalhmangaihsangi explained to us the details of her business she ordered crisp fried snacks and steaming hot tea from the neighboring shop. She happily added that she has been running the shop for the past fifteen years and knows almost all of the shop owners in the nearby area. She started working in a small shop in the Bazaar and later rented a bigger shop in the central area as her profits grew. She employs two women and also teaches three students who work at her shop. She stitches garments for ladies and small children and also makes bed sheets and pillow covers.She took a loan of Rs 20,000 in July last year which she invested in buying raw materials. This helped her customers choose from the bigger variety of dress materials in her shop. She says that while the loan was useful, the amount was not enough for her business. She mentioned that she still needs about Rs. 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000 to scale up. The loan only helped her stock material for one time. She earns a profit of around Rs 10,000 to 12,000 a month after paying for the rent of the shop and paying the salaries of her employees.
Lalhmangaihsangi has two sons who are eight and two years old. Her younger son happily plays around in the shop as we finish our tea and snacks. Her husband also helps her in her business by procuring and selling dress materials. Lalhmangaihsangi dreams of going to Delhi and Kolkata to get the best dress materials and latest designs.