Greeter who rose to own chain of fashion shops in Nakuru's CBD

George Mburu has risen from being a greeter to owning a thriving fashion business in Nakuru's central business district. [Yvonne Chepkwony, Standard]

Against all the odds, George Mburu has risen from being a greeter to owning a thriving fashion business in Nakuru's central business district (CBD).

When Enterprise visited George's Fashion Hub in the CBD, the place was a beehive of activities with customers either trying on some clothes or fitting shoes.

He is often stationed at the till-point from where he monitors his workers serving customers, whose needs vary, and he has to take care of them all with his pocket-friendly prices.

"I'm a businessman, I started volunteering at a fashion shop in Nakuru Town as a greeter where I would welcome customers to the shop, I was employed later and used to earn Sh50 per day. I was young and energetic then and everything felt right," he said.

Born in Kijabe, Mburu's family relocated to Nyandarua due to financial hardship, he had to drop out of school while in Form Two. He had to engage in manual jobs to make ends meet

"I started selling second-hand clothes but failed to pick, I decided to do menial jobs to make ends meet, one day my uncle who lives in Nakuru visited our home, and as he was leaving, I approached him and agreed to accommodate me at his place," said Mburu.

Mburu met a young man welcoming customers to a fashion shop as he was moving around. He was mesmerised by his peer's skills to woo clients with ease.

"Out of curiosity, I spoke to him about his job and indicated that I would not mind volunteering as a greeter. The shop owner agreed and asked me to report the following day. After working for two days, I started receiving Sh50 daily wage," he added.

His new boss would task Mburu and his co-worker to hawk some clothes in saloons, estates, and offices among other places after noticing their determination and synergy at the workplace.

They were paid a commission of between Sh15 and Sh20 per every piece of cloth sold.

Sometimes, they would go without lunch while hawking clothes on foot and some of their customers would offer them shoes because whatever they put on had worn-out.

His elder brother who worked for a company in Nakuru was inspired by his resilience, forcing him to resign from his work and venture into the business with the idea of poaching him to his business.

He said that he would earn up to Sh80 commission, which motivated him to work extra hard to make more money.

While hawking clothes and shoes, customers would ask for skirts that were missing from their stock.

After six months, he shifted from living with his brother and rented a house with his business partner.

At one point, they identified a niche and a number of customers were asking for skirts, the duo took advantage and bought them to satisfy their customers' needs.

"We decided to buy skirts at Sh80 and sold the same at Sh150. We started with four and gradually graduated to getting more stock and eventually decided to be selling it after 5 pm," said Mburu.

As fate would have it, their employer caught them red-handed selling skirts which were not part of his stock, he was not amused and asked them to surrender his stock.

Mburu and his friend decided to make amends with their employer and agreed to be referring clients to his shop if they needed varieties of clothes.

Displaying the clothes in an open area was the best idea and would attract ladies who would buy skirts at Sh150 and they achieved sellout by the end of the day.

They resorted to buying wares from Nairobi's Gikomba market for sale in Nakuru town. With only Sh900 to source for the skirts, Mburu was shocked to learn that a piece of his stock cost just Sh40 and would use Sh100 for bus fare to save the cost.

At first, he bought 20 pieces and shared them with his partner, but the stock was depleted after two days, which gave them the desire to restock.

The business grew although he never knew much about the business, but their good rapport with customers became their strong point.

"As time went by, we decided to separate our business and rent shops, I learned new tactics in business with time and expanded my business," he said.

Mburu only trusted home banking then and was not conversant with banking and saving services. He would later learn how to keep his money and shared the knowledge with his brother who was also in the fashion industry but years ago left to venture into farming.

Currently, Mburu has managed to employ five people at his shop. He aspires to establish a shoe wholesale shop within one year and open a separate clothes shop.

Mburu advises starters that anyone can start a business and succeed with any amount so long as they are disciplined.

He advertises his business on Facebook and WhatsApp platforms and some of his customers are referrals and walk-ins. On a good day he makes up to Sh15,000.

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