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Today we meet with the gorgeous Amanda Tau-Kanasa the co-owner and co-founder of Pacificana, one of PNG’s hottest pacific apparel and beauty accessories brand. What started as a hobby making and selling floral hair accessories, has grown to a full of range of handcrafted jewellery and a custom-made clothing collection, all which encompass Amanda’s business mission, to look good and feel good in what you wear. We talk to Amanda about her previous job in the corporate world and her motivating factors that drove her to make the jump to transform her big ideas into a reality, making her the inspiring entrepreneur she is today.
If you had met Amanda in 2014 she would have been working as a tax consultant at EY, one of PNG’s largest accounting firms. Having completed her diploma and bachelor degree in accounting at the University of Papua New Guinea in 2012 she was snapped up into a graduate position with KPMG which was later followed by her sort after role with EY where she completed her CPA. With a secure income and room to develop her skills within this professional environment, life seemed as if it was all mapped out. But for Amanda there was something missing. There was still passion, drive and determination that was still yet to be ignited within her.
Outside of her 9-5 commitments at the firm, Amanda was busy creating a dream of her own within the fashion industry. Together with her natural flair for the bright and cheery pacific islander fashion, Amanda was inspired to create pieces that not only looked good but also made you feel good too. Before long, Amanda’s evenings were spent packing orders for her eager customers, with deliveries made in her work lunch breaks. Seeing the immense joy and satisfaction from her growing customer base sparked the fulfilment Amanda had been lacking in her current role as a tax consultant.
Together with the help from her husband, they officially launched the Pacficana business in August 2015. For over a year Amanda toyed with the idea of leaving the corporate world to follow this new passion project.
“I prayed about it and asked GOD for direction as I knew it was a huge decision to walk away from my accounting career. I had so many questions running through my head. Could I survive without a fortnightly income, would being happy stop me from getting hungry or paying the bills, would people make fun of me? Could I make this last so that I didn’t end up looking like a fool for leaving a well-paid job?”
With the support of her loving husband and mother, Amanda was reassured to follow her heart. The validation and confidence to make this decision came with the feeling that this is what truly made her happy and great things could come from this new venture if she only gave it the time and energy it needed to grow.
So, in October 2016 Amanda quit her corporate career to follow her dreams in the fashion industry. But as she quickly realised being a self-employed entrepreneur doesn’t come easy.
“I went from working an 8 hour to working at least 16 hours a day…”
Not only was she the book keeper in this new business but also the sales and marketing team, logistics and delivery co-ordinator, banking and financial support and the creative flair behind each new collection.
“Life got a lot more complicated and a lot of things I had to learn on the go.”
It was apparent that Amanda’s bold vision and her passionate spirit were shining brightly as the business began to grow steadily. In 2017 Amanda was selected for a scholarship from the Australia Awards PNG. This scholarship allowed her to travel to Australia and complete her Certificate IV in Entrepreneurship & New Venture Creation with the University of Sunshine Coast, ever increasing the skills of this leading lady in business. Later in 2018 Pacificana was identified as a PNG SME to participate the APEC event. With Amanda’s obvious drive and determination, it wasn’t surprising that she was then approached by the PNG Women’s Business Resource Centre (PNG WBBRC) to run training programs for other women who owned SME’s to help them better understand their tax and statutory obligations.
For Amanda Pacificana has become a lot more than flower crowns and coconut earrings. It has become a vehicle to encouraging and empowering other young women and youths to become entrepreneurs too, contributing positively to their local communities all whilst following their dreams.
“Do what makes you happy but always remember that it is going to be tough, there will be days when you want to give up and there will be days that you will have no money because you no longer have a fortnightly income to rely on. But if you believe in what you are doing and are willing to never give up then go for it and be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. Put GOD first and everything else will fall into place and don’t expect everyone to support you because they won’t. Believe in yourself and hold on tightly to the very few who will genuinely support you.”
To support this inspirational young woman, you can find her at her pop-up store at POM City Markets, Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby twice a month or via her online store at www.pacificanapng.com
Pics : Courtesy Pacificana PNG