Meet Bertha, the Founder and Owner of Be Beads Accessories
32-year old Bertha Bryson Mrisha relocated to the United Arab Emirates in 2017 from Tanzania, and like most young people who make their way to this desert mecca, such moves are inspired by a desire for greener pastures. It wasn’t long before she realised that there was a gap in the market for exotic beaded accessories, something that was well reminiscent of the sort of jewellery and embellishments one would find back home in her native country.
“I started my business as I always had the love for fashion and the African design aesthetic. It’s part of my culture and so for me, should I venture into business, I would want to be able to impact different people from the continent in some sort of social enterprise initiative,” says Bertha.
Be Beads is an African brand based in UAE and they specialize in hand made accessories and apparel, with their crafts inspired by the deep diversity of African heritage.
“I collect jewellery from different parts of Africa that tells the story of our heritage and helps the local artisans to earn an income, as I source markets for them to sell their products. I had just moved here and after about 6 months, I realised that it had become a constant where people were asking me about the pieces of jewelry I had from home. Having done more research I realised that there was a real opportunity for me to start a business selling African handmade accessories,” Bertha shares.
In early May 2018, Bertha launched her brand and named it BE BEADS, a combination of her name and love for the beads she would be selling. Today Bertha sells jewelry are from beads, brass, recycled plastics, African fabrics, shells, threads, and cotton materials, importing most pieces from different countries across Africa such as Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa.
Be Beads seeks to creates to market products and create jobs for artisans back home, with a plan to further import from more markets across the continent. Bertha aspires for Be Beads to be viewed as the “African House of Accessories” in the UAE market, bringing in different types of accessories to cater to the tastes of an already multinational customer base.
But the journey to becoming a business owner is not always easy, and Bertha is always keen to share what challenges she has had to overcome as she builds her brand.
“My journey as an entrepreneur hasn’t always been easy, but I suppose that is the standard for most startups. When I started my business, I was employed full time, and so it was really difficult to find the time to concentrate on promoting the business,” she chimes in.
“I missed a lot of networking events so I could meet people who would be interested in my products and promote the story behind what I was trying to do. Most markets were in Dubai so after my shift at work, I often had to catch the bus to Dubai to go and sell my products. This was often quite taxing to do physically. Other challenges l faced included people really trying to bargain for their price, often not considering the cost of bringing the goods to the UAE, costs of delivery and so on. I have been fortunate to meet other entrepreneurs who have been able to help me with tips to overcoming my challenges.”
Today, Be Beads has grown so much that Bertha has opened a store in Wafi Mall at Khanmurjan Souk, Shop No. 6018. To have a look at the Be Beads jewellery and accessories, do visit their social pages on Instagram @be_beads18, Facebook @be_beads and on online store at www.bebeads.co