From Face Masks to Fashion: Kumkee Print and Designs

During the pandemic, a Lautoka-based family had a unique home business idea—selling fashion-forward facemasks. In 2021, as Fijians returned to work, husband and wife team George and Olga Kumkee saw a rising demand for reusable face masks. Seizing this moment, George used his graphic design skills to transform protective wear into a canvas for personal expression. George and Olga's customers could design their own masks to express their quirkiest ideas.

Now boasting a team of 23 designers and machinists, Kumkee Print and Designs has evolved far beyond its initial face mask venture. The couple's mission is to nurture the artistic aspirations of their community, especially the younger generation. For this reason, the Kumkee's encourage their customers to pitch their own ideas, and then the Kumkee team work to bring them to life.

In September 2023, Olga joined the Fiji THRIVE program, a collaboration between BSP Fiji and Australian Business Volunteers (ABV). Olga attended a three-day training workshop led by ABV business coaches Louise Nash and John McKenna, which covered a range of core business skills, including finance, marketing and strategy.

Olga found the "business canvas model" provided by ABV’s business coaches helpful for future planning. She was excited to come home and share this with her husband and friends. "Since the training, I've not only improved my business, but I also feel confident offering advice to other business owners now," said Olga.

From the Lautoka office, the business has expanded its product range to include clothing, offering a variety of fashion, sports and corporate wear for both men and women. The team intends to launch a swimwear line as well. Their most popular products are sports shirts for students and teachers. The Kumkee's create matching jerseys for their sports events from the students' drawings.

Image: Students of FNU NATABUA in their custom-made Bula Shirts

Olga and George encourage young people's creativity by turning their drawings into beautiful wearable motifs. Their son, Alfred, proudly wears designed sports shirts during club games, sparking curiosity among other parents. Alfred encourages everyone to have something special crafted for them.

Olga and George's journey serves as a great inspiration for creativity and resilience. Their mission is not just about business success but also about motivating others to pursue their dreams without fear. As Olga puts it, "If you have a dream, anything is possible; all you have to do is go for it."

Header Image: Olga and George wearing their custom designs.

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