Romelia has a leather business with her husband making belts and other products that they sell in markets in the surrounding area. She is now in her third nine-month cycle with Namaste. Her dream is to have a handicraft export business and create jobs in her community. Though she has only a fifth-grade education, she has become a very successful businesswoman building on her knowledge and sales experience.

She is 43 years old, married and the mother of three grown children. She lives in the town of Samayac. With money made from the business, she has been able to provide an education for her children. Her daughter is a school teacher, one of her sons is a policeman, and the other graduated as an accountant.

When she first met her husband, he had a business making and selling leather products. They decided they could make a better life for their family if they worked together. They made a variety of belts in different styles, plain, painted, or embroidered. Later they started making wallets and leather bags. Romelia designs and styles the wallets and purses, creates embroidery patterns, and likes to introduce new types of belts. She has a special ability to embroider by hand and on a machine. She makes it a priority to stay on top of the latest fashions.

Her business adviser suggested that she make belts with removable buckles. This allows a user to change buckles for different looks. She provides buckles with many different images such as roosters, boots, skulls, and motorcycles. This has proven to be very popular. The business adviser also told her that she and her husband should seek out different markets and suggested one in particular. There a buyer ordered 50 dozen embroidered belts due to their consistently high quality. This has caused them to consider making products for a larger geographic area, including exports and Romelia is designing a new line of belts for the youth market.

A quick review of Romelia’s financial records reveals that she has had three successive loans from Namaste in her three cycles: $410, $680, and her current loan of $910. During her time with Namaste, her monthly business profits have grown steadily from $455 a month to $1,210, an increase of 180%!