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I used savings from odd jobs to build my own textile company

By Paul Kariuki | April 15th 2019
By Paul Kariuki | April 15th 2019
Mwenda Kinyua, 27

Shortly after finishing high school, I held several odd jobs before getting a job with the Lewa Conservancy for a year.

After this, I worked as a teacher at a private school but lasted a term before calling it quits and moving to Meru town to work as a sales agent for a telco. The job entailed hawking SIM cards, but I didn’t like the terms, so I never started the job.

I decided to look for some other opportunity in Meru instead of going back home. I came across a businessman who had a glass shop, and he gave me a job on the spot. The monthly salary was a measly Sh3,000, which could barely meet my expenses. I was reduced to eating leftovers from his plate.

After a month, I quit and began working as a casual at construction sites. Other than being strength sapping, it is also demanding and better suited to more muscular people. I couldn’t keep up.

I spoke to a friend who helped me get a job in a textile shop in town.

I held that job for nine months before getting a better deal in a school uniform shop. I worked there for six years, and the exposure inspired me to start my own company.

Using my savings, I started my own textile business, Mutindwa Emporium, two years ago. It specialises in school uniforms, curtains and branding.

Though there’s a lot of competition and many people don’t believe a young person can run a textile business, I have been able to find my niche.

I go the extra mile for my customers, and search for business aggressively, including by tendering to supply institutions and NGOs. NGOs tend to pay the best.

This business is quite capital intensive. For big orders, you’ll need to dig into your own resources and then wait to get paid.

The earnings depend on demand.

Sales for the business peak at the beginning of school terms.

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