Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Nigora starts a new business

Shortly before I went to Germany in late July, Nigora went to Andijon, Uzbekistan and came back with a set of dishes. She carried blue and white porcelain teapots, cups, saucers and bowls, painted with pink roses and gilt edges. She left them out on the patio.

“The neighbors keep asking me if they can buy pieces from me,” she told me. The next day, she was at the Osh market, finding out the local selling price.

“I would have some profit left if I sold them,” she said, and began to sell a few individual pieces.

“Some people have told me that these dishes are too expensive,” she told me. “They are placing orders for what they want me to bring next time.”

The next weekend, she and a female neighbor crossed the border again to Uzbekistan, bringing back two boxes of cheaper dishes.

“How is the business going?” she asked.

“I’m not doing any selling at all. I just told three neighbors and they are all telling their friends and relatives.” She often seemed thoughtful as she calculated her profit margin (about $20 per set of dishes) and her future business development.

“Once Habib gets into the university, then I can really focus on my business,” she said. “If I really want to do it, I’ll have to get a place at the market. It’s not going to work to just sell from home.”

During her last trip, she talked to other traders about how to transport goods across the border. “They were surprisingly open and helpful,” she said. “They all said it’s really easy. I just leave the goods in someone’s house, I cross the border myself, and someone will bring me the dishes at home in Kyrgyzstan. I don’t have to transport anything myself.”

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