Amaliz Shop – the accidental business lady

Where do you go when you want to gift your child a dress or shoe for a comfy and great feeling? You guessed right, at Amaliz Children’s shop.

Next time you are in Ntinda, at Capital shoppers, check out Amaliz at shop 34 on the first floor, just above Bata shoe shop. Like all great things in life, Amaliz is a hidden gem. But no one ever fails to find what they put their mind to.

The Amaliz clothes shop is themed red and white interior colour design. You will be able to find the stylish shoe or dress or shirt you are looking for. All you need to know are the size details of your lovely child.

Amaliz was founded by Audrey. For full disclosure, Audrey is my wife. As part of keeping our marriage interesting, we decided to visit different countries and cities once a year, of course before the era of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sometime in 2017, we travelled to Bangkok, Thailand for a holiday. And while there, we visited big shopping malls. That is when we saw some shops labelled, “Factory Outlet.” Being on a tourism visa, and with two weeks to go, we decided to add some excitement. My wife convinced me to try to visit a clothes factory to explore a business opportunity. Being a focused lady, we asked one of the lady shopkeepers for possibilities to visit the factory to explore wholesale partnerships for our country. Luckily, one of the factory founders was at the shop, and we were introduced to the old, short, confident lady seated in a corner office. She asked which country we were from, whether we already had a shop, and if yes if we could show photos. One thing with doing business with Asians is that they are ready and fast-paced. They do not keep you guessing or waiting. They are so confident that they tell you what is on their mind there and then.

To be honest, we did not have a shop. We told her the truth. “We do not have a shop, but we plan to set up one. We can make an initial order of US$ 8,000 and go try to see how it all works out.”
The lady factory owner heard, well: US$8000 initial order. She smiled, gave us a seat and asked us to wait briefly to see factory access availability dates and times.

We planned to open a shop immediately after we returned to Kampala. Audrey has always complained while looking for dresses and shoes for our children especially when they are about to return to school or when looking for appropriate wear to celebrate key children’s moments like Baptisms, receiving first holy communion, birthday party or original cotton wear that make the kid look and feel good. The fact is, great clothes contribute a lot to one’s appearance and confidence. Children that are smartly dressed, feel it and always try to show it.

The lady asked what we did, and we explained we are businesspeople, on a tourist visa in Thailand, and were trying to explore partnership opportunities especially original high-quality clothes and shoes for children since our country was dominated by traders who mostly import from China. She loved the idea, but she guided us that “not everything from China is bad. I have two factories in China and one in Thailand. China has highly developed manufacturing ecosystems and supply chains, and it will continue to be the manufacturing capital of the world. You get from China any quality you pay for. Even some of the clothes I will give you may be shipped from a Chinese factory. It does not mean that they are of poor quality.”

We appreciated her clarification. And used the opportunity to emphasize our need to visit her factory in Thailand, and Bangkok to just see how it operates. She was kind enough to give us an appointment for the following day. We bought some clothes from her shop and headed to our hotel room. The following day, we got a taxi and off we went to the factory, which was located about 130 kilometres from Bangkok city centre. In most Asian countries, governments are deliberately encouraging factories to be located away from the city centre which is fast-tracking village transformation. Other infrastructure like roads, hospitals, schools, etc naturally emerges once the demand for them increases.

The trip to the factory was fascinating. The road network was excellent, despite Thailand being reported as a developing country. When you travel abroad and move beyond the city, you get to appreciate the country and the people better.
About 70 minutes later, we arrived.

The factory was very big, located on over 10 acres of land. The good thing about travelling and visiting such factories is it gives one perspective. You suddenly start to have big-picture thinking. Asians value relationships a lot. They tend to trust people they have met physically. To do business with an Asian on a long-term basis, you must invest and visit them. And so we made our first order of over US$8000. We were so excited. All clothes looked nice and special. We knew that they would be a hit in Kampala, once we opened the shop. They packed our goods, and we were excited as if they had given us the stock for free.
To be continued, in part 2.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2022. All rights reserved.

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