Prominent businesswoman, Iliganoa Sapolu, has taken another bold step in the commercial world.
She has realised her dream of running a bed and breakfast place with the opening of Tafaoga Villa at Matautu, adding to Samoa’s growing list of impressive tourism properties.
Ili is no stranger to businesses. As the proud owner of Daphne’s Restaurant, My Tiara’s Boutique, Stitch and Zip, and Jade’s Massage, she has more than 40 years of entrepreneurial experience.
“I am not in the business world to make money,” she tells the Samoa Observer.
“As long as I can employ people, give them jobs to care of their families, I am happy.
“I don’t do this to be a millionaire; in my own world, I look at this as affording the opportunity to the people to make some money to put their children to school and other family obligations.”
The opening of the Tafaoga Villa is the continuation of a journey for Ili who returned from the United States in 1975 and started a dress shop.
Fast forward to today, the Villa is located next to the other businesses she owns in Matautu-tai. The venture is named after Ili’s mother, Tafaoga. It features king size beds, internet, TV and private bathrooms, all with air conditioning.
It opens directly onto the landscaped gardens and it caters for up to 10 people.
“It’s mainly for families who want an open space to enjoy each other’s company,” said Ili.
They serve breakfast with local products. The Villa is ideally located near Daphne’s restaurant, across from a salon, and it’s walking distance to the famous Marina.
In the area are the My Tiara’s boutique, Jade’s massage, and the Stitch and Zip sewing shop.
“Everything is near the Villa,” said Ili.
Convenience is very important to the businesswoman.
After purchasing material from My Tiara’s Boutique, Stitch and Zip can design your preference of style, whether a dress or puletasi.
The massage parlour is also there for relaxation, where you can enjoy a massage, manicure or pedicure. The massages range from trigger point massage therapy and Swedish massage therapy, to the deep tissue, which is similar to a Swedish massage.
“I love what I do and sometimes I think this is a hobby for me. And on top of it all is the enjoyment I get from doing good for others, by providing employment,” she said.
Iliganoa works six days a week. It has been her life since 1979, when she opened her first shop. Her day starts at 7am, every day.
Ili said the key to her success is strong faith and family support. She credits the support from her sisters Averill Frost and Rita Keil, as well as other faithful customers who are her lifetime friends.
Ili said the opening of the Villa is something she has thought about over the years, but many walls led to the delays.
“However, I can proudly say my Villa is open for business,” she said smiling. “I cannot afford a hotel, but this is what I can afford, and what I can offer to our tourists and also our Samoan families.”