Entrepreneurs of the Month

We’re back at it!! I had really missed this section of the blog

1. Wendy Kodawa

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

I have 3 online stores that I started over a period of 3years : Tandy antique closet (2015), Tandy corporate wear (2018) & Lush bridal Kenya (2017). Both named Tandy are thrift stores selling trendy ladies clothes though corporate focuses more on trendy office wear. Lush Bridal supplies bridal accessories, party favors and bridal shower props.

2. What tips would you give other entrepreneurs when it comes to building a clientele ?

With online business, your clients need to trust that what you’re selling is legit. Give them quality products & services and they’ll always come back. Client satisfaction is greater that profit. Also have good conflict resolving skills with clients as this is inevitable. How you solve conflict could make a client come back even after a disagreement.

And finally, as everyone says “the client is always right”. .

3. What has been your greatest money lesson so far as an entrepreneur ?

I used to dislike outflow. But over the years I learnt the more the outflow the more the inflow. Your money will always come back. That’s something I have come to learn. The greater the risk, the greater the return.

2. Betty & Eustace

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

My name is Betty Asava and together with my partner Eustace Mugane, we started T&G Designs in May this year. T&G Designs is a clothing shop that majors in custom made casual clothing as well as business/corporate branding. We started by printing t-shirts then grew into producing hoodies and college jackets as well. I also independently run Tetty’s shoes which sells affordable thrift shoes for ladies. Tetty’s Shoes was birthed when I realized that most ladies either have no time to go to the markets to find cheap yet good quality shoes or have no idea where in the market to get them. At the moment, both are online shops.

2.What is that unique factor about your business?

A lot of vendors, especially online vendors, have been telling us not to worry about losing clients because that’s just how business is. I’m not sure how true that is, because for us, T&G is our baby. Even if it’s just one person that says it, no one likes to be told that their baby is ugly. Therefore we try to be in touch with our clients as much as possible because a happy client guarantees referrals which are really important especially for an online enterprise. Last week, we had a client who thought the quality of our t-shirts was “pathetic”. This is the only complaint of this kind we had ever received since we started. We therefore sought to outsource from other suppliers and granted, he is now a satisfied customer! That one complaint really matters to us because we need for that client to come back and refer more people to us.

3.If you had a piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

We have a lot! But the most important one would be, never be embarrassed to market your business to anyone and everyone. Anyone you meet or speak to, online or offline is a potential client or referee. So go hard on your marketing. Another thing would be, businesses take time to grow. There are good days and bad days and you didn’t master courage to start your business only for you to quit. It may sound cliché but never give up, you never know when the breakthrough will come!

3. Lynna Owiti

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

I own an online thrift store that sells affordable clothes for ladies known as Urbanstyles KE , which is currently purely online and operates primarily on instagram. I started it in 2016.

2. What has been your most satisfying moment in business so far? 

I don’t know if I can pinpoint an exact moment, they’ve been many and I am extremely grateful, but I’d like to say watching my baby grow and continue to grow has been an amazing feeling and overall so satisfying. Getting new clients, repeat clients and constant referrals are the things I am extremely grateful for.

3. If you had a chance to start your business over again, what would you do differently ? 

I would definitely be more consistent. I struggled so much with balance the first one and a half years, as I am currently in school, so it was a bit hard to figure out the balance between school and running the business plus having a social life and this affected how consistent I was. Consistency equals growth and growth equals the eventual success of the business.

I’d also definitely learn the financial basics before (i.e. managing your capital account, separating business finance from personal finance, saving etc.) instead of just winging it like I did. Everything I know about finance now, I learnt in the process, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s one of those things I wish I figured out sooner and would encourage anyone getting into business to do the same.

4. Brandon Abila

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

I’m a sole proprietor in the branding industry. My company is Abrands . I started the business last year,2017.

2. How did you raise capital for your business? 

I started with only Ksh.1000. I branded some funeral tshirts then got referrals. As I got more jobs I started focusing on other branding products like signages, filers etc. This resulted to me eventually opening a workshop in town, now Abrands. The rest, as they say, is history.

5. Melissa Kioko

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

I own House of Maya, a fashion brand where we design and tailor custom made-to-fit garments while seeking to celebrate the female form.

I started designing clothes in high school, circa 2012, then my sister who’s a jewelry designer and I started @evemayadesigns in 2014. In 2017, I branched out to develop my fashion brand.

2. What has been the greatest challenge so far for your business?

I would say my greatest challenge thus far has been work-life balance. I sometimes get caught up with school and other life demands. As a result, I don’t give as much time to the business which makes it suffer. Along the way, I have learnt proper planning and prioritizing.

3. What would you encourage an entrepreneur trying to start their own fashion line?

Just start, with wherever you are and with whatever you have.

I’d give these 4 steps:

-Find the market need for the products you want to sell

-Work out all the needed logistics for the business (day-to-day activities, manpower, budget,marketing)

-Make your product & test it with samples -Sell your products

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