Betty Efemini is the incredible founder of Creative Crafts Boutique, a social enterprise that provides free workshops in jewellery making, crochet, arts crafts and more. Betty runs her workshops and is based in Peckham Levels.

Photography by Mash Mirza https://www.mashmirza.com

Tell us a bit about Creative Crafts Boutiques and what motivated you to start the  social enterprise?

Creative Crafts Boutique offers a range of  Creative Crafts  and Artistic Skills and Enterprise Training all delivered and run by local people. The motivation behind starting the Social Enterprise was two fold.  I am a self a trained Embroidery Artist although I was confident about my creative skills.  I found it rather lonely in the business world because I didn’t know anyone else who was an Embroidery Artist.  I also felt that creative people are not taken seriously and do not receive has much support has a person who wants to learn a trade or a person who is an academic.

I used to work as a tutor at Lambeth College. I taught young people who were out of education, IT Skills.  One of their tasks was to run a small enterprise in the college and they all decided to make Jewellery.  I was amazed by what they produced and they had the opportunity to go around the college and sell the Jewellery. They Sold out of all the Jewellery which encouraged and motivated them in many ways.

I also discovered that young people today do not get the opportunity or option to learn Creative Skills in school, most options were Arts, Crafts and Textiles.  I learned to crochet in primary school when I was 10 years old and my friend taught me to knit.  Although I had these creative skills I didn’t take them seriously because I saw them as a hobby.  I didn’t believe I could make a career or business out of them.

How important is it for you to provide young people with a creative outlet? 

I think it is very important for young people to have a creative outlet at a very young age so they can develop their potential and talent and connect with their creativity. Some of us are very practical and very creative. We are all different, not everyone is an academic.

As a not or profit, what are the biggest challenges you face?

Being a social enterprise we faced many challenges, before we got our space at Peckham levels we travelled around to venues with our equipment . Lack of funding to run our projects and now Covid19.   Some skills can only be taught in person and not on zoom.

Is there someone or something that inspires and motivates you?

I am inspired that you are never too young or old to learn and I believe we all have untapped creative and artistic talent that is lying dormant with us. I am amazed that creative and artistic people normally have more than one skill and others are just so multi talented they have a range of skills.  My motivation comes from knowing  that Creative and Artistic skills are Enterprising  and you can use your skills to train others. 

I believe that Entrepreneurship is a way forward especially for young people.  One person that inspires me is Madam C J Walker, the first African American Women to become a self-made millionaire in very difficult circumstances.  She was Black and Women opportunities were  non-existent in her time. She was a Philanthropist and an Activist.  Madame CJ Walker was successful because she was diligent and hardworking and she carried people along.  She gave them opportunities. She had a goal and a dream she wanted to achieve. She was persistent about pursuing her life mission and goal.  

What advice would you give someone who wants to start a social enterprise? 

Starting up a social enterprise is a life changing transformational experience you start in one place and end up in another.   My advice is anyone starting a social enterprise is to have the end in mind.  See your vision in your mind, write it down and take action steps to make it a reality.  Plan and keep planning.  Be consistent, don’t give in or give up. Keep going, don’t stop no matter your challenges .  Surround yourself with like minded individuals. Get a mentor or coach. Attend training that will develop your skills, knowledge and abilities. Give it your best shot and be willing to work hard and serve others and your community.

Keep an eye out for upcoming workshops on Creative Craft Boutique’s instagram space https://www.instagram.com/creativecraftboutique/