The Observer (Kampala)

27 November 2012

Uganda: Tami Brings Israeli Jewellery to Uganda

Tami Sasporta wants every Ugandan woman with a sense of style to experience the feeling of wearing nice original Israeli jewellery. At her shop in Bugolobi at Gatto Matto, everything appears perfectly set.

The interior of the shop is a real delight to the eye. Everything is well- decorated. In the middle are white cushioned sofas supplemented by sweets and cookies lying on the table for the visiting customers. Simply said, everything in this store is made to order.

On display are a wide range of striking necklaces, earrings, bangles, ear pins, and rings, among others. And then the care and hospitality of the striking Tami Sasporta, the owner of the shop, an Israeli native, that will lure any customer.

"Unlike the fabricated jewellery sold on Kampala streets, all these products are made from original Israeli metal and fibre - the biggest reason why my customers love it," Sasporta says, with the conviction of a good saleswoman. She notes that it is the exceptional fiery multicolour tones of the centrepiece of most of her necklaces that give them a mesmerizing glow.

"I basically deal in products from Israel; they come in good colours and quality. Most of my customers used to like my personal jewellery from Israel and I decided to make it a business," she says.

Sasporta, who also makes some of her necklaces, has been living in Uganda for the last four years. Her husband is a road constructor in Uganda. During the four years, she decided to start her jewellery business.

"From my childhood, I have never run a personal business. Though I had no business knowledge, I decided to customise in importing Israel jewellery since most of my friends were interested in it," she says.

And this has paid off so far. Though she wanted to establish a shop in one of Kampala's busy and sounding malls, Sasporta was forced to settle for the Bugolobi spot since she could not handle the high rent.

With two months in business, Sasporta says all is good and it is promising. She attributes this to the attachment and the originality of her products. "People have a religious attachment to Israeli jewellery. You will find that most of it comes with symbols like the dove and the palm which both mean good luck," she says.

"But most importantly, it's the originality of my products that attracts people."

She uses metals like Pewter and Turquoise stone whose products women cherish because they are considered to be pure and healthy for their bodies. These are supplemented with silver and gold-coated Karat.

Sasporta says Uganda's business environment is friendly. She points out that Ugandan women appreciate style and are willing to buy something of quality at any cost.

Despite having quite expensive products - the cheapest earring goes for Shs 40,000 while the most expensive necklace will leave one Shs 350,000 short, Sasporta says her target audience is responding positively and insists her products are cheaper compared to local jewellery stores that sell products of similar quality.

"Sincerely, most of my clients are non-Ugandans, but the few Ugandans that come really understand quality and never complain of prices," she adds.

There are some challenges she faces, though. Her location, for a start, is way out of the busy central business district, where there is a larger market regardless of the limited parking slots. So, she depends on word of mouth to have news about her business spreading.

Sasporta says she has limited stock for women only. "Currently, I'm limited to only women jewellery but I hope to also import men's wallets," she says. She has plans of expanding her shop to become a hub where women can get lectures on application of cosmetics and a wide range of make-up tips. "I want this place to become a one-stop centre for all people of class and style," she says.

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