NAIROBI, KENYA: Valentine’s Day is set aside for love, but there’s no reason a savvy entrepreneur can’t make some money from it.
Here are some of the opportunities this February 14th presents.
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1. Invest in Valentine’s Day goodies
Charity Komoh of Jospah Florists in Nairobi says it doesn’t take much capital to make money from selling flowers.
“This is one of the businesses you can start with any amount. You don’t need hundreds of thousands of shillings; Sh5,000 is enough to bring in a good profit,” she says.
Currently, a bouquet of red roses costs Sh600 at City Market in Nairobi and can be resold in other parts of the city at anything from Sh1,000.
“In a few days, however, we’ll raise the prices because suppliers will hike them, too. But even then, we expect to make a lot of money,” says Charity.
Other traders say they plan to set up makeshift tents in busy town centres to profit from young lovers with a disposable income at least two days to Valentine’s Day.
You can also buy chocolates and wine and package them in gift baskets and advertise these online – along with delivery options.
2. Plan dates
Let’s face it, a lot of us are terrible at romance.
But that doesn’t make many of our significant others expect anything less than the royal treatment on this day.
To spare many people, particularly men, the agony of an unhappy partner, why not offer to organise romantic dates for various budgets?
You can start with that colleague or friend who’s confided in you that they don’t know what to do for their partners next week.
The best way to make money from this is to look at yourself as an event planner; you don’t want the package you come up with to be thought of as a favour to a friend.
Come up with a variety of options for various budgets after looking up locations, photographers, restaurants, transport options and so on.
Since the day falls on a Wednesday this year, it’s unlikely that people will have the whole day to romance their partners. Therefore, come up with lunch or dinner options, and throw in a gift basket with flowers and/or candy that can be delivered some time during the day.
It’s often easier to add a mark-up to the packages you come up with rather than charge a separate fee – many people are still resistant to the idea of paying an event planner for services.
3. Charge for a singles party
Not too many people put much thought into their relationship status until February 14 rolls around.
To give them a chance at finding love, or to simply catch up with people they may have lost touch with, consider throwing a singles party.
You can host one in partnership with a restaurant or at a house – just make sure you come up with a theme that’s attractive.
You can either charge a fixed cost to cover food, venue, entertainment and other expenses, or charge an entry fee and let people pay for their own food and drinks.
You can approach couples in your circle of friends or neighbourhood who have children and offer to babysit for them while they enjoy a night out.
This hustle is most likely to work with couples who know you and can trust you to take care of their children. You can charge an hourly rate, and who knows, it could turn into a long-term hustle, giving busy parents a much-needed break.
5. Provide photography and video shooting services
Couples who’ve found love are always looking to immortalise their special moments. And when it comes to Valentine’s Day, the sentimentality is often taken to another level.
This is the day a lot of engagements, weddings and renewals of marriage vows happen.
With photography and video-shooting talent and quality equipment, you can make money off of all these relationship-specific opportunities, and provide couples with memories they’ll treasure forever.
Silas Isenjia, a photographer, says to make it successful, a Valentine’s Day shoot needs to be full of colour, and it’s up to the photographer to set the mood.
“Use lots of red, but make sure it’s flattering to both the man and the woman. And get the music right,” he says, adding that success in the photography business requires one to understand customer needs.
For his shoots, Silas charges between Sh25,000 and Sh50,000, depending on the time frame, location and requests the client makes.
6. Start a relationships blog
You can leverage on the season to start a blog that may last for years and bring in a tidy sum in advertising.
Hillary K’Omuono, a student at Maseno University, blogs about politics and entertainment. At the moment, the two topics are drawing a lot of interest as the university prepares for elections amid preparations for Valentine’s Day.
To drive even more traffic to his blog, Hillary says he’s working on a project to feature some of the interesting love stories in the university in the days to February 14.
“In my entertainment section, I did January stories around the hustles that come with the month. Now that we’re in the month of love, I’m doing something different that will be more relevant to readers,” he says.
In addition to online ads, Hillary charges Sh1,000 to feature people on his blog.
“If you’re aspiring to become a blogger, identify an area of interest, be as creative as possible and write big stories around even the tiniest of occurrences. Also, leverage on seasons to create a long-lasting, thriving blog that draws advertisers.”
7. Drive with a taxi-hailing company
If you have a car, don’t let it lie idle on Valentine’s Day. Sign up with a taxi-hailing company and make some money ferrying lovebirds.
With a valid driving licence, certificate of good conduct and national ID, you’re one step closer to becoming a driver, with or without your own car. There are always people with a fleet of cars hunting for qualified drivers.
If you do have a car, you can hire it out to registered PSV drivers for use as a taxi, or to couples referred to you by someone you trust. You can expect to earn Sh3,000 per day for a regular saloon car.