Despite costly false starts, he found a home in embroidery
SEE ALSO :Listed firms hit by slowing economyA partnership was forged and a business, Nexpress Embroidery and Screenprinting was born. The duo used Mutwiri’s savings to buy a computer for graphic design and pay for a business permit as well as printing materials. Since they did not have enough money to rent a stall, they got a small space at a corridor in Meru town and opened for business.
Getting customersTheir biggest challenge at the time was getting customers even though there were only two other businesses doing the same trade in the town. “We marketed ourselves vigorously but it would be two years before our fortunes changed and our customer base began to grow steadily,” says Mutwiri. But with the new cash, the partnership hit rocky ground and split. However, Mutwiri had learned all that he needed to keep the business going.
SEE ALSO :NSE key index dips as bank stocks ruleMutwiri was strapped for time because he was focusing on two businesses simultaneously. They also faced cash flow problems. “A customer would sometimes order a spare part but we would not have the money to buy it, leading to loss of business,” Mutwiri says. By 2017, his screen printing business was bringing in a profit of Sh30,000 per month. However, it was launched into the big league by the 2017 political campaigns because of high demand for branded campaign materials. By the time the election period was over, Mutwiri had amassed a fortune which he used to import an embroidery machine worth Sh2.5 million from Japan in October 2018.
New premisesThe machine could not fit in the corridor he had been using for seven years, so he rented new premises.
SEE ALSO :End of an era: Exit Barclays, enter Absa“The machine also brought in more work so I employed three more assistants, making a total of six full-time employees, excluding the many part timers I engage during busy periods,” he says. His spare parts business on the other hand employs three mechanics; so in total, Mutwiri has created employment for over 11 people. Nexpress has become the go-to business for screen printing and embroidery services with a portfolio that includes major uniform and textile suppliers in Meru. His clients include schools, churches, NGOs, sports teams and private security companies. This has doubled his profits during off-seasons and more than quadrupled them during peak seasons, like back to school periods.
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