When SutiSana hires a new artisan, we begin by explaining the challenges of learning new skills and techniques, which will likely be uncomfortable for a bit. Since so many of our artisans have never worked in professional settings or with industrial tools, they are stretched far outside their comfort zone for the first few weeks and sometimes months of their employment.
Recently, we as a social enterprise experienced a similar discomfort, when we embarked on a large scale project that was slightly outside of our core offerings of hands bags and small accessories. A local Christian partner reached out to us requesting an order of 30,000+ screen printed t-shirts. While we had screen printing equipment and had even done some small-scale screen printing, this project was far beyond the magnitude of any custom order we had ever done. The leadership team debated as to whether or not we could handle such a large project in such a tight timeline, but we all agreed that stretching ourselves to achieve higher goals was important for our personal and professional growth.
We accepted the job and got busy. Our production coordinator, Maria Branez, formulated a plan, trained our artisans, and recruited a number of volunteers to help manufacture the t-shirts. There were definitely moments of fear and discouragement. But as we encourage the artisans to persevere through difficult moments and to work together as a team, we decided we needed to follow our own advice!
As a result, we met the deadline and produced 32,000 high quality printed t-shirts per the client’s request. And we also demonstrated to ourselves and the artisans what can be accomplished with determination and a firm belief that with God all things are possible. Together we saw first-hand how hard work does indeed create its own rewards.
We deeply appreciate our production coordinator, Maria, who recently moved to Germany to pursue a Master’s degree in Business. While she will not be with us when we embark on our next big project (which we look forward to receiving), the leadership and grace that she taught us will help us move through that next challenge with a bit less trepidation.