For 20 years, Tuli Stowers has seen the benefits of being a forester.
Her home in a nine-acre land in Leauvaa uta is surrounded by plants, which she earns $600-$800 tala from weekly by selling them at the Fugalei Market.
Not many years ago, the widow and her seven children lived in an open Samoan fale facing the struggles that many low income families face today.
Ms. Stowers began her flower business with a small patch of sunflowers in front of her house. She now plants orchids and spider flowers among other plants, which have enabled her to build her empire.
“This is mainly to help my family and it is the only source of income for us and as you can see, the house was upgraded from some of the money I earned from selling plants,” Ms. Stowers said.
The 56-year-old classifies her business and her work as “really successful”.
“Apart from the house upgrade, we also bought a car from what I make, including paying for her children’s education expenses.”
Ms. Stowers said members of churches would come to her home to buy plants for their Sunday service.
“Prices of plants would range from $20 - $80 tala depending on the types of flowers,” she told the Business team.
“Orchids, for example would be sold at $10 a bunch.”
She loaned $18,000 from the South Pacific Business Development (S.P.B.D.) in March this year and most of the funds have been implemented on her garden and renovations of their home.
“My repayment is $400 tala a week, just from the money earned from selling flowers.”
Ms. Stowers highlighted the challenges she faces include the weather and competition from people carrying out similar trade.
“But then she sells her plants at an affordable price compared to her competitors who would sell a bunch of orchids for $10 tala.”
Ms. Stowers has always been passionate about flowers. “It comes from my mother and I am carrying on my mother’s legacy,” she said. Ms. Stowers advises women out there to never give up and if they were to approach something like that, then they should strive for the best.