Nalwoga’s e-commerce platform gives a new lease of life to youthful artisans

Just like many others, when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, the arts sector was badly hit following measures like the lockdown.

The two-year lockdown meant that people spent their cash only on essential items and this meant that people like artisans would take more many months without getting a customer.

Cerinah Nalwoga Kasirye, a graduate in Ginning and Textile Engineering from Busitema University, came up with an idea that would change the lives of young artisans who were stuck with their products.

“I was then working with an art and crafts association where my role was to market and sell the artisanal products but when Covid-19 broke out, the industry closed and so there was need for the artisans to survive. Since I was not paid for close to two years, an idea to find an alternative to marketing these products was birthed,” Nalwoga says.

As the adage goes, a problem shared is half solved. She shared the idea with three of her friends including Rachel Nasasira, Fanny Nyayic and Arthur Kasirye who is also her husband.

This gave birth to the Trillion Looks Store, a fashion and art social enterprise that works with marginalized women and artisans to help them mass produce, market and sell their products across the globe.

The beginning

Just like any other kind of work, Nalwoga says things were not easy in the beginning since the initiative required some good money especially for branding and marketing the products. She got much of the support she needed from family and friends.

“For example, my husband Arthur Kasirye also our IT guru is the best web designer, and branding person that I knew then and now. This was a blessing in disguise since he helped build the website but also helped in the branding bit,” she says.

Another friend, Fanny Nyayic, a software developer and communication specialist also came in handy. She assisted in implementing a digital marketing strategy but also manage their social media channels to help market products.

Nalwoga says her other friend, Racheal, was the first sales and quality control person and all these greatly helped her out.

She explains that the trio injected Shs 3 million into the business as startup capital.

Getting artisans

She explains that having set up the e-commerce platform, a call was made using social media to all artisans with quality art pieces to present their products for marketing.

According to Nalwoga, the call yielded fruits as over 40 artisans were able to join and through this, many of them have been able to get their products marketed and sold to as far as Europe, USA, Zimbabwe and within Uganda among other markets.

She proud to have helped market a number of artisans and for the last two or so years, these have been able to have their products bought, courtesy of the e-commerce platform.

To ensure quality of the products sold, she started a program to skill the artisans and this has ensured most of their products are easily bought since they are of good quality.

Recently, Nalwoga organized the Afri-art and fashion show where artisans who subscribe to the e-commerce platform showcased their products.

She says this made her proud since it also helped market the artisans.


Nalwoga says that the journey has not been devoid of challenges.

“The negative attitude that Ugandans have towards our locally made products baffles me.  We have skilled and talented youth who make pretty products but Ugandans take long to appreciate them,” she says.

She also notes that similar products from foreign countries have flooded the Ugandan market making it difficult for Ugandans to buy from their own, a thing she says needs to change.

“Some products from other countries should be barred from entering Uganda such that Ugandans can buy our locally made products. For example, we have very nice Rafia table mats in Uganda but we are competing with plastic table mats from China.  And so many other products are not getting the attention we need in Uganda. Something needs to be done about this,” she says.

Nevertheless, Nalwoga says she is proud of the journey she has moved especially being able to give a new lease of life to youth artisans in the country.

“I advise youths to utilize every opportunity they get for personal development. Whatever you do, do it with all your might as though you are working for God not man,” she advises.

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