Karaponga, who is the creator of Moana-Liza Essentials, is originally from Manihiki.
She is designing and making her own clothing line as well as providing a tailoring service. In addition, she can make designs requested by customers.
“I have always wanted to design and make dresses since I was a little girl but later on swayed away from the idea, seeing it as just a hobby. I only started contemplating the idea of sewing and making my own line just last year. My family has a pearl shop located within the Punanganui Market and I sew and sell from there.”
She says it was her sisters that helped her come up with the name of her business.
“Rearranging my name to sound like Mona Lisa, the famous painting.”
Karaponga is a self-taught and passionate seamstress. She said she had sewn her first outfit in primary school.
“My goal for the outfits that I make is that they can be worn for any occasion whether it be just a casual day out outfit, or something that you can wear dressed up to a function.”
Karaponga said her biggest challenge is finding the right material.
“Living on a little island with Tukis and Vonnias as your only fabric shops you only have limited options, but I am still grateful for both shops and the resources that they are able to provide.”
She said a simple look with bold colours and the island vibe can make a statement piece.
Karaponga said: “At the moment I haven’t really had the opportunity to make stock for my clothing line because of all of the personal custom orders I have. I like to experiment, so I let the customer send me an idea of what they want and I make it my goal to create it for them.
“At first, my main focus was only going to be clothing for young women. Then I got the opportunity to experiment in making my very first baby romper as a custom order and fell in love with it. Now I plan not to limit myself but push myself into creating something for everyone.”
Karaponga said she grew up watching her mother, who is also a tailor, sew.
“I’d help myself to her sewing room while she was at work when I really wasn’t supposed to.”
Next year she plans to take on tertiary study in business and marketing.
“It was to help my family’s pearl business, and now I can do that, and grow and expand my own clothing line.”
Karaponga says she has been inspired by this year’s word from God at church ‘taking calculated risks’.
“I took the risk and God has opened doors for me that I couldn’t have imagined this time last year.”
I also am very grateful to all the support provided by my friends and family who are also a big reason for where my little business is at today.
You can contact Arliza on her Facebook page ‘Moana-Liza Essentials’ or on 73595.