Entrepreneurs of the Month #2

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I got to interview 7 amazing young entrepreneurs in the month of October!

  1. Mark Mackenzie

1. Tell us about your venture and when you started it

My name is Mackenzie Mutisya, the owner of Mac n Tee Enterprises. We are an online retail watch store. We opened our doors in March 2015 and we have never looked back forging towards being the leading watch store in Kenya. Our Instagram handle is @mc_n_t. Our Facebook page: Mac n Tee Enterprises.

2. How do you market your business and which tactics have been most successful?
When we kicked off, we relied on organic growth and referrals. It wasn’t as successful and we decided to invest in paid advertisements which has propelled our visibility in the online space. Paid social media ads have been the most successful marketing tool. .

3. What us your greatest business risk and how do you manage it?
The greatest business risk was starting the business itself. It has taken a lot of persistence, patience and versatility. The persistence not to close when things got tough, the patience to realize that building a business takes time and versatility to adapt to consumer preferences and capitalize on such changes if and when they occur.

2. Stephanie Kioko

1. Tell us about your business and when did you start it?

EveMaya Designs is a Kenyan Brand that designs and sells ethically made jewelry. We use recycled brass for majority of our pieces. I work in hand with several artisans who help bring my vision to life. Evemaya was officially started in 2014 together with my sister. We however parted ways last year but one. .

2. How do you define success?
I define success by a feeling. Success is a feeling of happiness and not so much achieving a goal.To me the achievement of a goal doesn’t not necessarily give you happiness.Success is also a way of life. What can you do daily, monthly or yearly to give you happiness? Success is in the little joys of everyday life, it’s a journey.

3. What motivates you as an entrepreneur?
I am motivated by so much. I believe God has given me a talent that I cannot take for granted. He needs me to explore my talent and serve others . It’s not enough to have a talent that you only use for your self satisfaction.
My clients inspire to continue produce better products. My best friends inspire me to become a better human being and business woman.

3. Roger Muhia

1. Tell us about your business and when did you start it?
My name is Roger Kinyanjui. I’m the founder of Kiki Phone Cases. It’s an online store that sells mostly ready made and customized phone cases, but we also sell phones and phone accessories. I started the business in 2016, because I identified the need for beautiful phone cases among the general public.

2. How did you raise funding for your venture?
I raised my very little funding from myself and my girlfriend. We pooled together a meager Ksh 2000 and ordered cases. It’s been upwards and forward from then.

3. What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
The first thing I’d recommend is that you build your networks. My business wouldn’t be where it is if I didn’t look for others doing the same thing, even my competitors. You’d be surprised to find that your main competitors could become your biggest allies if only you reach out and talk to them. You should also spend time looking at the market, because people’s needs and wants change ever so often.

4. Kathleen Wanjiru

1. Tell us about your business and when did you start it ?
I run a personal chef business called Kitchen Wizard . I make it easier for people to enjoy healthy and good home cooked meals in the comfort of their own homes . I started in 2016 by just making chapatis and samosas for everyone in our neighborhood for a small fee.

2. What’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
My favorite thing is that there is no limit to what you can do or how far you can go or what you can achieve. Everyday is a new day to learn something and to grow your own business and even to change for the better.

3. What has been your biggest money lesson so far as an entrepreneur ?
Educate yourself!
Making money is something we can all do but what we do with it after is what really matters. How we know what to do is the true test. Find ways to invest in the business, invest in yourself . Equip yourself with the right options for making your money work for you .

5. Jeff Kiplagat

1. Tell us about your business and when did you start it?
I run a business called
Tronic Management , a talent management & booking agency based in Nairobi. We deal with artist management, artist bookings, record label services (Music Distribution & Publishing) & event management. I started it early 2018 after having some experience in artist management working with different artists e.g. Le Band, Prisca Ojwang’, KIU & Jemedari in different capacities.
On weekdays, I’m a Graphic, Web and UI designer at a digital marketing & creative content company. I also take freelance design commissions on the side.

2. What vision do you have for your business?
The vision I have for myself, as an entertainment businessman & designer is to incorporate both tech & entertainment.
I’d love to grow @tronicmgt to being a 360° record label and have tools that makes the artist’s work easier to exploit their talent.
In design, I’m working on being a full stack visual designer because I’m moving into marketing & branding.
I’m trying to find balance between my passions and exploit them financially as I grow.

3. What is the greatest challenge you’ve faced as an entrepreneur?
i)AGE
Most people (read elderly) don’t believe me when I say I’m up for the job and are most times reluctant to give me a shot until I hand them my portfolio(s) (I have one for each: entertainment & design).
.
ii)Payments
As a creative, we have this unique Payment system known as the Exposure Dollar billing system, and Since I have a mantra: “quote unapologetically”, that doesn’t allow this, I’ve lost business because people hardly want to pay or pay the least, yet I give far much more quality than they bargain for.

6. Chumba Kipsanai

1. Tell us about your business/venture and when did you start it?
Dark Green Entertainment is an events company founded in January 2016. Our main event is Dark Green, an outdoor movie theater with live music, among other events

2. What inspired you to start your business?
I have always loved drive-in cinemas since I was little and wondered why they didn’t exist anymore. I remember sharing with a friend about how cool it would be if someone started an outdoor movie theater, and used it as a platform to showcase music and other form of art. His reply,”why don’t you do it?” Planted the thought that grew into the idea that finally became Dark Green Entertainment.

3. Where do you see yourself as an entrepreneur in the next 5yrs?
Seated at the 25th edition of Dark Green, with a sustainable Dark Green Entertainment that has successfully branched into film, music, fashion, lifestyle and entertainment.

7. Simply Kech

1. Tell us about your venture and when did you start?

I’m Simply Kech and I run a photography business that is centered around people. I have drawn an interest in shooting professionally special moments in people’s lives. (Be it engagements, weddings, lifestyle, events and photo sessions, I got you!)
It all started in 2016 in campus when my mum got me my first camera as a gift. At the beginning, I just took random photos, then I realised it was so much fun! I practised a lot and until the point I got a particular style and people could recognize my photos just by looking at them, that’s when I made the decision to turn it into a business.
I had always been fascinated with photographs but never at one point had I ever thought I could be a photographer. Here we are now.

2. What lessons have you learnt so far about growing your brand?

Some of the lessons I have learnt so far about growing my brand is that first, everything takes time. We may be so hard on ourselves about things not going as fast as we would like them to go at a point in time, but we are just being impatient. Trusting the process and being patient is very essential.

Secondly,always improving your work and yourself as a person makes all the difference. If you always strive to be better than you were the previous day and strive to get out work that is better than your last.

Also, I have learnt that support is vital in growing your brand. Having a good support system is a must! When the people around you support you, it contributes to your general well-being and that usually translates to the growth of your brand.


3. Who in your industry would you consider your role model(s)?

Honestly, I don’t have a role model in my industry, (to be safe, yet.) I mostly draw my inspiration from people who are in different fields and are doing amazing things. E.g, Anthony Bourdain’s life has really been a great inspiration to me. As much as I think to have a role model in the industry you are in is important, it is not always mandatory. All the same, I have continued to learn quite a lot from many great photographers both online and offline and they all have my entire gratitude.

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