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The money in the bag business

By Ian Dennis | November 6th 2019

Daisy had unsuccessfully sort employment before resorting to business. She had tried her hand at trading in different goods but none seemed long term due to the Kenyan business nature of ‘copy-and-paste’ business ventures.

Her last venture was the jewellery business, which she aborted a few months in after every hawker started selling similar jewellery on the streets at a much cheaper price kicking her out of business.

Her successful business venture in bags was by chance. She had designed her school bag at a local tailor and started getting a lot of compliments, which ultimately resulted in an offer from a friend who offered to give cash for her bag, which she obliged, making a profit in the process.

From this instance, she saw an opportunity to venture into the business and set up Kamandora bags. Initially she got tailors on a need-to basis but due to rising demand, she ended up hiring two full time tailors.

Her growth has been primarily driven by social media, as she does not have a physical store but only a workshop where she makes the bags.

I linked her up to Mark Stephenson, the managing director of Sandstorm that has been in the bag business for close to two decades.

Sandstorm boasts of six stores across Nairobi and has employed over seventy employees. Here are some of the business nuggets he shared with regards to the bag business:

Ensure your customers understand your business value

Sandstorm bags are made of pure leather, therefore, quite pricy for the average Kenyan.

So it was vital for Sandstorm to have their clients understand the value of the product being offered in order to match the price with the value being offered.

Have your business focused on a specific niche

In order to be successful in business, the business should offer value to a particular niche of clients who are willing to spend to acquire that value.

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It is, therefore, vital that the business offering be structured to meet the need of a niche in order to derive the most value, in turn giving the business better margins.

Eliminate middle men in the value chain

A business should strive to serve the client directly as opposed to going through middlemen.

This not only enables the business have price control but also have direct interaction with clients, who are able to give direct feedback on the product.

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