‘Passion’ drives Kurusiga – Living off the fruits of her labour

A LOCAL businesswoman is living off the fruits of her labour that she and her late husband sowed in 2009.

Api Kurusiga, who runs Lapita Marketing Enterprises, said the business was established 12 years ago while she was employed at the Australian High Commission as her retirement plan.

“I retired last year as senior business development manager and now I run this business with my son from our home in Valelevu, Nasinu,” Mrs Kurusiga said.

Lapita Marketing Enterprises is a family partnership business which operates as a wholesaler and retailer of local wellbeing products such as noni juice, virgin coconut oil, honey, layalaya tonic, coconut soap and bottled turmeric.

“We just bottle and package these products from home and we supply. We don’t have an outlet and I like it that way because my understanding of business is that I don’t have to work too hard.”

This laid-back style of business is a far cry from the strict regimen she grew up under her father’s tutelage at their village home in Taci, Noco in Rewa.

“My father operated a canteen which serviced all the villages in the district of Noco and people used to come from far and wide to buy groceries. She said growing up in the village for her and her three siblings (two brothers and one sister) was not easy as they had to work hard to support the family business.

“Every morning I had to milk the cows, collect the eggs from the chicken shed, organise the fish to sell and rake the compound before going to school.”

Her strict upbringing instilled discipline to manage her time well and apply it in every aspect of her life.

“I want to tell people that if you’re working, you have to start thinking of doing something like this because if you live a lifestyle where you rely on an income, you will miss out on a lot if you don’t have something prepared.”

Mrs Kurusiga said people needed to do something while they were working. “I’m glad that I started this business while I was still working. Now that I am retired, I still have the energy to move about and operate the business with the help of my son.”

Her products are now sold in supermarkets, pharmacists; special household orders as well as exported to Korea and the US.

“I just work from home. There are days when I don’t have a sale, even weeks and that’s fine because I’ve run this business for 13 years and I’ve come to understand that it’s not about the money, but the passion because I believe these products will make a difference in people’s lives.”

Her passion has led her to also become a business coach where she is able to mentor people looking to start off their business or need advice on how to improve their business.

“Something I find out here, a lot of people don’t share information.

They do not wish to share anything, everything is confidential, but if you want something, you have to make friends, form business relationships, and be part of networks which suits your business interests.”