We are so excited to share with you our newest and most exciting Chapter yet!
With great pride we announce the opening of our NEW WORKSHOP in the South Luangwa, Mfuwe, Zambia.
Purpose-built on our own titled land our workshop is both beautiful and uplifting.
We see this as a chance to take all we have learned over the last 9 years and, with these strong foundations, go on to expand our positive impact.
We are excited to share this journey with you and hope that you will visit our Shop Less Ordinary soon!
The full story is below....
I will always remember the day I committed to starting Mulberry Mongoose. Sat on the bank of the Luangwa River I debated the wisdom of giving up job security to build a vision. I had to put aside my fear that I wasn’t tough enough, smart enough and good enough. My financial intelligence had always been questionable, and I am incapable of understanding contracts. Remind me why they are written in a language that makes less sense than Latin?
However, it’s hard to ignore the universe when it wants something. When I asked the question, should I set up a business, I felt an extraordinary kick in my stomach. The only other time I have felt this kick, aside from being pregnant, was when I met my husband. I was scared but I felt the alternative would be worse, so I listened.
In the first 2 years of business, I had my 2 beautiful daughters. It’s not ideal juggling motherhood and a new business but it was perfectly suited to me. You see I was growing up and that had to happen and still must happen if Mulberry Mongoose is going to reach her full potential. Being a mother is the single best fast track to growing up. I am truly grateful at how the business took care of me over this time; I was sleep deprived and a novice, but people came to us, gave us support, and wanted to be part of what we were doing. Looking back, it was a beautiful and exciting time.
I made many mistakes. One that always embarrasses me is I was a terrible manager of people. My determination to move forward has always been something I struggle to juggle with the need to have a team join me on the journey. However, I am most proud of how I have evolved my character to be a better manager (to be clear this is a nod to how bad I was as I still have many faults here!). Most importantly I had the right people join me. Introducing Clera Njobvu, our shop manager. To have her by my side gently steering me whilst learning and growing with me has been one of the greatest feelings of pride. Clera earned shareholding in Mulberry Mongoose due to her work ethic, integrity, and ability.
As our business grew, we seemed to lurch from one chaotic moment to the next. Always growing and getting better often stressed and chasing our tails! The expression 2 steps forward 1 step back applied only too often. I acknowledge my passion and drive often had the team running in circles. It has taken me 9 years to learn that not every idea needs to happen yesterday!
The thing that has kept us together is our values. Working with Daianna Karaian we invested a huge amount in mapping our vision and defining our brand. It has saved us time and time again.
The thing that has made Mulberry Mongoose happen is our beautiful Zambian team. They wanted to learn, to work their hardest for betterment and were prepared to take what I wanted to teach and forgive my less impressive moments. To have international team members join us as we travel has been incredible. Vi, our Operations Manager, and I often interrupt business meetings to dwell on the beauty of serendipity and how it brought us to work on this special business together.
We have evolved many times to stand here today, and we have had to be brave and believe truly in what we do. We have had great fortune to connect with some extremely special people two of whom are the reason we now hold the key to this extraordinary new workshop.
This is just the beginning. This new workshop validates who we are and where we want to go. What lies ahead remains the key and all our past mistakes and learnings must be used to navigate this next phase. Above all our values must hold steady so we can achieve our full potential.
A heartfelt thank you from the team and I for getting us here. We are so excited to welcome you to our special corner of the world and can’t wait to open this next Chapter with you.
xx Kate and the Mulberry Mongoose team