No joy over Easter for local seamstresses

The Easter weekend didn’t translate to extra revenue for local seamstresses, who would have normally cashed in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. 

Saumamao Ioane, a seamstress who also owns a market stall where she sells her products, told the Samoa Observer that there's a big difference between her Easter sales this year compared to the previous years.

“My business has been really slow during Easter as there were no buyers at all,” she said. “The past years before COVID-19 struck I had a lot of buyers on Easter but this is new.”

Luavalu Pesa, who owns Stall Number 18 at the market at Apia, expressed similar sentiments when comparing her sales last weekend to previous years. 

"There is a huge difference between this year's Easter compared to the previous years' Easter concerning my sales,” she said.

“The whole week of Easter I sold only 10 puletasi; this is the number (of puletasi dresses) I sold for two days in the previous years.

"Before COVID-19 struck there I got a lot of customers during Easter but this year the number has decreased."

Expressing frustration at how slow business is over the last couple of months, the seamstresses said it was a new experience for them, especially Easter when they were expecting more customers. 

For a market stall owner Vavao Mafi, who operates out of the Fugalei market, the drop in sales couldn’t have come at a worse time for the business. 

“The number of buyers I had this Easter is far different from the ones I had the previous years.

“Before I used to make a lot of money throughout Easter's time period but not anymore, there is a drop."

Another market stall owner Sandra Laufili, who runs a clothing shop and operates out of the Savalalo market, blamed the pandemic for the drop in customers.

"The pandemic had a huge impact on my sales during Easter; sales on Easter was just like my daily sales, it was slow,” she said. 

Another market stall owner, Jossie Mansfield Togatuki, said they have always relied on tourists including Samoans who live abroad.

"We rely on tourists, especially our local people, they do huge shopping during holidays but with the closure of borders our sales dropped,” she said. 

“Before it would be just packed with people coming over on Easter to buy from my stall.

"Before COVID my sales during Easter were good but ever since COVID-19 struck it has been slow. 

“I wish this year the borders will open soon after all people are vaccinated everything will be back to normal.”

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