The stories behind Mana are tales of perseverance and strength, even in the face of adversity. Each and every woman involved in the boxes has overcome huge obstacles to be where she is now.

Constance’s story is a great example of this. She’s been committed to her goals since 1994, and she’s not about to stop any time soon.

A Rocky Start

Constance started selling her handmade goods after her husband passed. This tragedy left her as the sole earner for herself and her seven boys. Although she made enough to get by, she knew that she couldn’t offer her sons the lives she wanted for them while working in Zimbabwe. That’s why she moved to South Africa — to create a better life for her family.

Once she moved, Constance got to work. She started by selling crocheted tablecloths to make enough money for food and shelter. After speaking with some local women, Constance decided to branch out into table mats, hand-painted tablecloths, and picnic blankets. Her small business, Constance Picnic Blankets, was officially born.

Hard Work and Perseverance

The journey wasn’t easy, but eventually, Constance started to experience more and more success. She was able to put all seven of her children through school, and after her eldest two came of age, she brought them into the family business.

“When it comes to my business, I just want to be professional,” said Constance. She strives to make sure every one of her products are up to her strict quality standards. You could call Constance a bit of a perfectionist.

The Impact of COVID-19

Although Constance was doing well with her small business, the pandemic hit her hard. “My business and personal life and that of my family have not been spared,” she said. “I was forced to close my business, like many other businesses, and this has led to a loss of income. Loss of income for myself and those I work with goes beyond more than just individuals, as our families’ whole livelihoods depend on our business. The loss of business is a shared loss as the blow is felt by us all.”

Still, she continues to find inspiration in the world around her. Constance told us, “I have seen people pursuing dreams that no one else believed in. I am inspired by the hope of better days and the pursuit of happiness. I am continually inspired by women who are in decision-making positions in business and politics. They are changing people’s outlooks.”

These values are shared by all of Mana. Maybe that’s why Constance has been such a great fit for the boxes. “Mana means a lot to me,” said Constance. “It touches my heart. It touches me a lot, and I’m so pleased.”

Support Constance by backing our Kickstarter to sign up for the quarterly subscription box. You can learn more at bit.ly/ManaBoxes.

Mana is a quarterly subscription box featuring handcrafted, unique pieces created by local women artisans in South Africa. Every curated piece tells a story.

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