A group of refugee women in Launceston are hoping to turn their passion into a profit after starting a new business.
The group of women from Afghanistan and Bhutan completed an 8-week sewing project at the Migrant Resource Centre North, creating 40 buffs or neck warmers, made from Australian merino wool.
The cultural creations were put on display at Cradle Mountain on December 12, and following the success of the project, the sewing group decided to continue the program and launched their own business - Kohee.
The business shares the name of the neck warmer known as a Kohee, a Farsi word meaning to belong to the mountain, chosen by program facilitator Asiyeh Heidari.
MRC project coordinator Gabriela Zampini said while sewing was one of the key elements of the project, the women also learned new skills including, logo design, brand creation, product development and marketing.
"Over the past six weeks the sewing group has been learning about working with superfine merino fabrics and learning more about how to use their sewing machines," she said.
she said project aimed to raise some extra funds to help support the group as they make their own clothes and clothing for their families.
Ms Zampini said the profits from the sale of the neck warmers would go towards helping the group purchase more materials and new sewing machines.
She said the Kohee was a versatile garment that could be worn as a neck warmer, headband, beanie, balaclava or wristband and was well suited to the Tasmanian climate.
Ms Zampini said the group hoped to expand the business in the coming months and start producing new products including facemasks and sports hijabs for women.
The success of the project was due in part to a partnership between the group and local business Breathe Velo who donated the fabric used in the buffs.
Ms Zampini said Breathe Velo owners Mark and Mary Ann Munnings became aware of the community sewing group through the MRC.
She said the pair offered to assist create a product that would develop their sewing skills and provide experience working with merino wool.
Ms Zampini said the buffs could be purchased online with all the funds being reinvested into the burgeoning business.
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