Client Feature: Marlyse Kouembi

Marlyse Kouembi always knew she wanted to have her own business in the fashion industry. It wasn’t until she made the move from Italy to Calgary four years ago that her dream became a reality.

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“I always had the desire to be an owner, but in Italy, it wasn’t easy. I planned my move to Canada because I saw the opportunity to start and grow the business. I applied for permanent residency, and in 2015 my family was accepted. That’s when I started to set up Kem’s Fashion.”

Kem’s Fashion is based in Calgary, Alberta and provides professional, contracted custom sewing services for businesses across Canada. Marlyse’s long-term goals include expanding into new markets, with Kem’s Fashion supplying their ethically and sustainably manufactured garments to international customers.

“When I first moved to Canada, I talked to many organizations to learn about successfully starting and operating my own business. One of the biggest challenges was finding the right people to hire. When I first began, I interviewed so many people and felt that none were qualified to work in the business.”

When Marlyse enrolled in English classes she connected with Syrian refugees in her classes who were looking for employment. That is how she met the husband of a fellow student who was a perfect fit for Kem’s Fashion. Today, Marlyse employs seven people and is showing no signs of slowing down.

With growth comes the imminent need to scale efficiently. “When I wanted to buy new equipment to increase my production, I reached out to many financiers, and that is how I was introduced to AWE. With the loan from AWE, I was able to purchase equipment and can now make more clothing in less time. My AWE advisor walked me through the entire process. Today, I have more customers because of this loan. I am so grateful.”

When asked what advice she would give to someone looking to start a business, Marlyse emphasized the importance of reaching out for help when you need it.

“When I was first given the contact for AWE, I was hesitant to reach out for help because I didn’t know what would happen or what was possible. After meeting with my advisor, her guidance helped me feel confident to move forward through the loan process.”

To learn more about Marlyse and Kem’s Fashion, visit kemsfashion.com. Marlyse Kouembi always knew she wanted to have her own business in the fashion industry. It wasn’t until she made the move from Italy to Calgary four years ago that her dream became a reality.

“I always had the desire to be an owner, but in Italy, it wasn’t easy. I planned my move to Canada because I saw the opportunity to start and grow the business. I applied for permanent residency, and in 2015 my family was accepted. That’s when I started to set up Kem’s Fashion.”

Kem’s Fashion is based in Calgary, Alberta and provides professional, contracted custom sewing services for businesses across Canada. Marlyse’s long-term goals include expanding into new markets, with Kem’s Fashion supplying their ethically and sustainably manufactured garments to international customers.

“When I first moved to Canada, I talked to many organizations to learn about successfully starting and operating my own business. One of the biggest challenges was finding the right people to hire. When I first began, I interviewed so many people and felt that none were qualified to work in the business.”

When Marlyse enrolled in English classes she connected with Syrian refugees in her classes who were looking for employment. That is how she met the husband of a fellow student who was a perfect fit for Kem’s Fashion. Today, Marlyse employs seven people and is showing no signs of slowing down.

With growth comes the imminent need to scale efficiently. “When I wanted to buy new equipment to increase my production, I reached out to many financiers, and that is how I was introduced to AWE. With the loan from AWE, I was able to purchase equipment and can now make more clothing in less time. My AWE advisor walked me through the entire process. Today, I have more customers because of this loan. I am so grateful.”

When asked what advice she would give to someone looking to start a business, Marlyse emphasized the importance of reaching out for help when you need it.

“When I was first given the contact for AWE, I was hesitant to reach out for help because I didn’t know what would happen or what was possible. After meeting with my advisor, her guidance helped me feel confident to move forward through the loan process.”

To learn more about Marlyse and Kem’s Fashion, visit kemsfashion.com.