Story of Emily Sumudivila
Cut, Sew, Sell. Emily began her sewing business in 2000 at the age of 40. She had only one sewing machine then. “Cut, sew, sell — I did everything,” she says.
At the start she made pillows. However, after transporting and storing these bulky products proved to be difficult, she shifted to making curtains, pillowcases and bed covers instead.
CCT Assistance and Business Growth. Emily joined the CCT Credit Cooperative in 2004. Her first loan of PhP4,000 ($80) and succeeding bigger ones helped her steadily build her business.
She bought more sewing machines and began hiring workers (all of them retrenched factory workers and family breadwinners). The loans allowed her to purchase fabric by the bolt especially before Christmas time when sales shoot up, and two secondhand vans.
In 2010, several of her wholesale clients defaulted on payments. Deciding that she would no longer depend on others to sell her products, she began opening permanent stores of her own one at a time. Today, she has 10 permanent stores in three different provinces.
Spiritual Growth. Like all micro-entrepreneurs who receive loans from CCT, Emily had to join a fellowship group composed of 15–20 other micro-entrepreneurs in her community and attend a weekly Bible study with them. She confesses that at the start, she would sit in the back, heckle whoever was leading the Bible study, and make snide remarks such as, “Imagine all the trouble it takes to get a small loan.” However, before long, God’s Word began to get through to her and soon she asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into her life and began to learn to love and honor Him.
She shares about a very low period in her life, approximately in 2012, when she treated herself as if she were Superwoman. She would allow herself only two hours of sleep at night and would work feverishly for the rest of the day, yet the business began to fail. She also invested PhP300,000 in a grocery store that failed. She began borrowing from friends and from banks and was unable to make payments. She was afraid to answer calls on her cellphone because it might be a creditor. Finally, a friend from whom she owed PhP500,000 had a heart-to-heart talk with her and told her, “I am freeing you from this debt. I also went through what you are experiencing and someone did this for me, too.” With these experiences, Emily realized that God was telling her, “Without me you can do nothing.” Three months later, business began to pick up, she gradually paid off the loans she had received from banks.
Emily is extremely thankful for the way God has blessed her, her business and others. Today, she has 44 employees: sewing machine operators, fabric cutters, a quality controller, a secretary, a driver and salespersons. All these workers hear God’s Word through devotions at the start of the day. Besides these, two of her siblings who started out as her workers now run similar businesses of their own.
She dreams of having a store “everywhere” and knows this is possible with God’s help.