Rain or shine, Leitu Toala, 25, goes to work.
The man from Faga, Savai’i, sells ie lavalavas to care for his parents and his family.
When the Village Voice caught up with Leitu, he was selling ie lavalavas in front of Digicel in Apia.
“This is what I do for a living because it’s difficult for me to get a job anywhere so I design my own ie lavalavas and sell them to get money,” he told the Village Voice.
“It’s difficult to get a good job nowadays so we have to find something that we know will earn money from to look after our family.
“Where I’m from is far and I miss my family very much but I sacrifice that so I can earn a living to care for them.
“My family understands as well that what I’m doing is for them.”
Ask how much he gets from his business Leitu said it’s not much but it’s enough to provide for his family.
“I have been doing this for about 5 years now and at the end of each week I send money to my parents to do their church and village commitments,” he said.
“Sometimes I go there and then come on the early ferry on Monday morning with my stuff to sell.
“The profit I make from what I do is about $200 a week and that is after sending money to my family and buying more materials to do more ie lavalava.
“It’s good money, we just need to know our market and understand that not every day will be good sales for us.”
Ask if there were any challenges, Leitu said there are a lot of challenges.
“One of the most common challenges here is that there are a lot of us,” he said.
“When one shopper comes we all have to run and show them our own design but at the end of the day it’s up to the buyer who he or she wants to pick to buy their ie’s from.
“That’s the only problem but it also makes us use our commonsense and think of how we can get more money so each of us have our own secret in getting the buyer’s attention to buy our stuff.
“For me is knowing my buyers and convincing them that only I can give them the best product and that’s how it is every day here in Apia.
“But as long as I have money to send to my family in Savaii I am happy .”