Cimo’s Breaking Cultural Stereotype

Every man has been blessed with a peculiar gift from God, as we have different interests and preferences in this life journey, a sentiment shared by Penaia Cimo.

Director of Cimo Comforts Penaia Cimo at his residence in Suva.

Every man has been blessed with a peculiar gift from God, as we have different interests and preferences in this life journey, a sentiment shared by Penaia Cimo.

He said these giftings defined a person as an artist, but while utilized efficiently and effectively, it empowers us to produce fine art.

For a chef, plating food is a stunning artwork even for a painter. A splendor of colors might be an idea of ​​fine art. But for the 41-year-old entrepreneur from Naisorowaqa, Bua, interior, exterior design and landscaping is an art of simplicity, where the obvious is taken out while the meaningful is added.

Director of Cimo Comforts Penaia Cimo at his residence in Suva.

Journey

The journey of this entrepreneurship started when he was in primary school, an unusual kid among his classmates who loved flowers and would hide in a corner to draw, do paper cutting or otherwise walk around the bushes, just admiring nature.

“My mum used to have a sewing machine back in the days, and when she left home, I used to play with the sewing machine, sit and sew pieces of cloth, and I used to get scolded not to play with the sewing machine, he said.

In a Fijian setting, he said it is extremely rare to see males sewing because it was not often seen as a men’s job. But for his father, it was a mixed feeling, and seeing the fruition of his son’s work today, the father appreciated his work even more.

This has sparked a change in the otherwise considered female work in providing inclusive support for him and his business.

Pena, as he is fondly known to his family and friends, is the middle kid of four other siblings, growing up appreciating life back in his village before moving to Suva for his senior education, tertiary and work.

But for his business venture, the idea gave birth with inspiration from his childhood memories: seeing how his parents went about their ways to make life comfortable for him and his siblings while growing up.

“This business is not only about me, but it is also about my family, my father, me taking the legacy of his name Isireli Cimo, so I name this business after him Cimo Comfort. So, my business is not about me, it is for my family, for little nieces and nephews, because when they grow up there is something here for them.”

He is now involved in the business full-time after returning from Australia, but the idea to tap into sewing curtains came about in August last year, which is now one of the mainstreams of income for the business.

“God has given you your gift, and it is a present that he will never open but he can guide you to open or see your gift for yourself, and however you use your gift is totally up to you.”

Pena said that in the entrepreneurial journey, money could be a barrier but that should not limit us from being creative and coming up with new ideas.

Along the business journey, criticism will also try and hinder our path but that shouldn’t stop us from continuing the journey towards our goal. I use those criticisms to build a bridge of improvement. I do things differently but not in a competitive way.

“Though I am a clumsy person; Criticism has helped me to pay attention to details. But negative criticism is like driftwood on the beach, but it takes an open-minded person to see a potential product created from it.”

Creativity is free

“Creativity is free, if only we realized how expensive that creative idea is within you, that can develop a solution to someone else’s problem.”

Pena believes that we should always give our best in everything that we do and always be open to new ideas.

“Always be supportive to the youngsters and assist them in developing their talents. Allow them to ask questions and be open minded in answering, if they cannot find an answer help them find it.”

Like the words, Barack Obama shared “Pass along the value of empathy to our children. Not sympathy, but empathy—the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes; to look at the world through their eyes.”

“So, let empathy be a beacon of hope that ignites freely from us, reminding others that living in peace is a way of life where we respect and love each other despite our cultural, religious, and political differences,” Pena said.

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