MTM Beauty & Style, is a clothing business brand that started from scratch back in 2019 by a determined couple Manu and her now late partner Timothy, who decided then to monetize their combined creative talent and venture into their own small business.
MTM is owned by 20 year old Manu Rai, a self-taught seamstress and her late partner and co-owner Timothy Regione, a talented sketch artist who both combined their skills which began the start of what was to be a hopeful dream for their little family, until the untimely and sudden passing of her partner Timothy last year, 2020.
Manu is from Egala’auna village in Aroma, Central Province and is now a single parent, and mum to little Mathew who just turned two yesterday, after she lost her partner late Timothy through a tragic and sudden short illness.
MTM abbreviates Manu, Timothy and Matthew, and is a clothing brand business that creates and sells bags, purses, kaftans, custom made dresses, meri blouses, jewelry accessories and many more items and are located at Five Mile here in Port Moresby.
Despite the loss, Manu soldiered on and being motivated by her child Matthew and family and backed up by the support from Late Timothy’s family and close friends, she has come a long way.
What started as a handful of purses and bags sold via social network has expanded to a proper home based studio, which serves as her printing, sewing and display space.
“I started helping my mother sew buttons onto shirts at the very beginning but was never serious about sewing”, said Manu.
Manu said when she was expecting her first son, she was given a mobile phone by her in-laws which she used to watch videos on YouTube on how to sew simple garments.
“I tried creating a kaftan pattern with some materials that I had and with a portable sewing machine which was purchased by my late husband, I was able to sew my first piece”, proudly said Manu.
Upon seeing Manu’s abilities and what she could create just by sewing, her in-laws bought her a sewing machine and that was when she became serious in sewing.
Manu’s late husband Timothy was a talented sketch artist already drawing, creating and designing work of his own so they both decided to combine their talents and started with printing superhero shirts to sew for their family members to help buy things for their child Matthew.
“We had no idea it would become something big and I wish my husband was here to see it all.”
Initially starting with purses, small bags, the standard meri blouse and handmade accessories, MTM now produces tailor made garments, custom design printed T-shirts and kid’s apparel as well as accessories.
“I also have three other seamstresses and one of them which I had for a while is my niece Annie and the other two were hired recently”, added Manu.
Like many other small businesses, MTM has had their fair share of challenges but are still facing these challenges to continue to grow and improve.
“One of the biggest challenges I had to face was the loss of my partner and husband last year and also like everyone else around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic which is really affecting us all.”
“However, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are surprisingly growing slowly but steadily and we are focusing on selling and marketing our products via our social networks”, she added.
Manu concluded that they have managed to find ways to stay creative in order to generate sales and leads.
“Admittedly, it has been somewhat difficult but with the help from my family and friends the business is still progressing”, ended Manu.