He got into the flower business after following his Sunday School teacher who was a professional florist.
Mathew Gikonyo from the dusty Thamanda area of Kikuyu, Kiambu County is now a landscaper and florist and there is no better month for business than February, the month of lovers.
The price of roses range from Sh150 to complex bouquets going for up to Sh3000 and, “during Valentine’s I bolster my sales with cards and chocolates, it’s such a good day for us,” he says, adding that he is flowers and flowers are him.
In recalling how it all started in 2012, Gikonyo says: “My Sunday School teacher was a florist, he would pick on me to help him around when he had weddings ,” recalls the 25-year-old who joined his teacher after high school. Shortly, he learnt everything from setting flowers in weddings, churches and events, mostly around Kiambu and Nairobi.
“I initially did this job to kill boredom, but with time, I realised I was sitting on an opportunity,” Gikonyo told CityBiz adding that from a small flower farm at his home where he also grew trees, his business picked up well. Decorations he says have moved from the usual balloons and a few bougainvillea flowers to complex floral art with emphasis on walk ways, altar, and entry arcs which forced Gikonyo to join a floral school in Parklands Nairobi in December 2014.
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He was hired for Sh20, 000 a month to manage a floral shop at The Village Market in Nairobi but before long, he was poached by another floral firm at Yaya Centre and when Two Rivers Mall opened, he was poached again.
His break came in April 2016 from a client he had met when decorating a wedding in Karen in Nairobi and who contracted him to do decorations in another wedding at the same venue.
“I sourced my flowers and hired a car to transport them and my crew to Karen where I supervised the work and my client was happy. I was armed with my business cards which I dished to almost anyone I met at the wedding.”
Armed with capital, Gikonyo opened his own floral firm in Parklands, and specialises in decorating weddings, both African and Asian. We also wrap gifts, and also advice our clients about indoor and outdoor plants.”
He makes between Sh150,000 and Sh190, 000 a month.