German graduate builds thriving mitumba business

Grace Wambere Ndung’u, a mother of two and a business woman, believes in women’s economic empowerment. Grace ?rmly holds that a woman can do much better what a man can do.

She pursued a course in information technology, a ?eld highly considered to be a preserve of men. Grace graduated from University of Johan Wolfgang Frankfurt in Germany.

She worked for a period of two years before coming back into the country for a three weeks’ break which turned to be a forever holiday.

When Grace was expecting her ?rst baby, she had a hard time getting high quality clothes at a cheaper price. Her friends advised her to visit Gikomba market which she did.

Indeed, she got good quality clothes at a cheaper price.

In March 2013, she welcomed her baby and was pleased with her choice of clothes. Gikomba market thus became a saving grace whenever her child needed new clothes.

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Having a good taste came in handy to Grace when selecting clothes and it wasn’t long before friends and family started noting how smart and unique her child looked, courtesy of the attires. Naturally, they started inquiring how they can get such out?ts.

Grace took the chance and offered to get clothes for them. Before she knew it she had started picking adult clothes and she was making a huge pro?t.

She started advertising her goods online and this became her full time job. Her online group, where buyers and sellers meet, has attracted more than 68,000 people.

Wambere’s day start very early in the morning. She goes to Gikomba, does the selection, gets home to wash and iron them then she puts them in display. She says washing and ironing them increases the quality of the clothes. She takes photos of the clothes and shares them across her networks.

Mitumba (second-hand clothes) is one of the most pro?table business one can venture in with just a little capital at hand.

Reuters report reveals that approximately 100,000 tonnes of second-hand clothes that are imported to Kenya.

For a medium venture, around 20,000 to 100,000 Kenyan shillings will be enough for the business. Those who want to start a large sale of mitumba clothes, then be armed with more than 100,000 Kenyan shillings.

This therefore indicates that different levels or rather the size of your mitumba business depends with the amount of startup capital you have.

The more capital you have, the bigger the size of your business. Like any other business, mitumba business has challenges too. One of the challenges she faced initially was meeting the needs of clients

with speci?c requirements such as colour and design. However, she passed this hurdle by selecting good clothes and letting clients choose for themselves.

“Some clients would refuse to buy the clothes saying that the products I had displayed on social media were different from what I had given them yet that was not the case. Another challenge I had to overcome was phobia for online business. At ?rst when strangers started asking for clothes online, I was not sure how to go about it, as I feared for my life. I got over it after meeting several clients without any bad thing happening,” says Grace, in an earlier interview.

Three years down the line, Grace had known Gikomba like the back of her hand. She has since expanded her business to include buying clothes in bulk.

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