By LORRAINE JIMAL
WHEN her husband passed away in 2015, mother-of-five Nuailo Anakapu of Milne Bay was left with the responsibility of bringing up their children.
She had also retired that year from her work as a librarian. Nuailo, now 66, had been a librarian since 1992, working in school libraries around the country, before joining the justice department library, the public solicitor’s library and later the University of PNG library.
Her work in the library meant she would read a lot of books. Something she read one day caught her attention. And because she was retired and needed something to generate income for her to support her five children, she thought of giving it a try.
It was about how to make soap and oil from the natural ingredients in plants, leaves, bark stamp and buds of trees.
Today, she makes her own brand of soap and hair oil from resources available locally.
“I started doing it as a hobby and giving the soap and oil to family members and friends.”
But when they started demanding for more, Nuailo decided to start a business, selling her own brand of soap and oil.
She enrolled at a training institute in Port Moresby which provides training for such product-making. She completed it in a year. It cost her K250.
She started her business in 2016.
She started with coconut soap and later on to charcoal, soursop leaves and fruits. For the soap, she also uses lemons to cure skin infections.
“ I’m old but the business is keeping me busy. I enjoy every process of making the soap and oil. It actually amazes me to see the final products.”
She also makes use of coconut, oil, ginger, noni and charcoals.
Her customers commended her for her brand of soap and oil and encouraged her to make more. Her prices range from K10 to K20. She take orders and delivers the items to clients, or they pick up their order from her office at Six-Mile in Port Moresby.
The soap and the oil are pure. She never mixes any chemicals with the natural ingredients, keeping the soap and oil as pure, local and natural as possible.
Nuailo uses the POM City Market to promote her home-made soap and oil, and to attract new customers.
“I’m old but the business is keeping me busy. I enjoy every process of making the soap and oil. It actually amazes me to see the final products.
“All the resources are here. You just need to use the skills and knowledge to do things your way.”
Her main customers are mostly young Papua New Guineans.
It takes her one day to complete 10 soaps. It is time-consuming but so satisfying and rewarding for her.
She encourages everyone to make use of the country’s resources.
Her late husband from Kairuku would have been proud of how she has stepped up to look after their children. She also wishes she had started the business when she was younger.
“No need to use foreign products. We can use our available resources. It is all about time and commitment and the passion to do it.”