Baya’s childhood was filled with dreams of fairy tales and princess dresses, that soon evolved into a passion for fashion design. Now she has launched "Haute Couture Lella Baya", a shop for clothing and accessories in El Fahs in the governorate of Zaghouan.
Bays’s story starts far from Zaghouan though. Born in 1988 in France, she spent her childhood growing up there before moving back to Tunisia with her mother. In Tunis, she studied design and tailoring before moving to El Fahs where she devoted herself to her private life.
"After my studies, I got married and became mother of two children,” says Baya. “During this period, I chose to dedicate my life and my time to my family. Once my kids were a bit older, I was able to pick up my ambitions where I had left them and decided to start my own business."
Baya started her business in February 2018, installing four sewing machines and then showcasing her products at the handicrafts fair in Kram. It was a good start that allowed her to present her clothing line and accessories to the public. It was also an opportunity for her to get an overview of all the products that she would display in her shop, which she officially opened the following May.
Among evening dresses and beachwear, Baya showcases her collection of clothing and accessories marked by her style.
"Each of my pieces is unique,” says Baya. “I like my creations to stand out by focusing on colors, fabric combinations, details in the stitching ... and I mix between traditional and modern styles to make new designs for the fashion market."
To achieve her goals, Baya was supported by her family, her friends and the Mashrou3i project organized by UNIDO and funded by USAID, the Italian Cooperation and the HP Foundation.
"When I was contacted by an expert from Mashrou3i, he already knew everything about my project and we were able to identify together how we could develop my business to ensure its successful launch and viability,” explains Baya. “If all Tunisians engaged themselves like the Mashrou3i team does, Tunisia would move forward with giant strides!"
Through Mashrou3i, Baya benefited from a training on taxes that allowed her to adapt the management of her business according to national tax and administrative requirements, unknown to her at the time.
"When you launch your project, you do not necessarily know all the administrative procedures and you do not immediately benefit from an accountant to take care of it,” says Baya. “Thanks to this training, I filled important gaps in my knowledge."
On a regular and ongoing basis, Baya receives the support of Mashrou3i’s experts and the Business Center of Zaghouan in difficulties she faces whether administrative procedures, access to financing, strengthening of her marketing and communication tools.
Baya never misses an opportunity to attend a training session, aware that these kinds of opportunities allow her to strengthen her network and acquire new partners or customers. Thanks to Mashrou3i, Baya will also attend an intensive training in Haute Couture styling and tailoring in Tunis, to strengthen her professional and design skills.