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By | November 30th 2011

Manciny Migwi, 28 years old is using sustainable means to create fashionable items, she talks to SHIRLEY GENGA

Tell us about your occupation?

I run Eqo-chique, an eco-design house that is passionate about sustainable fashion. Also, I am the Project Coordinator for Juliani’s Kama Si Sisi portfolio. I run the University tours, Artist Summit and other Kama Si Sisi engagements.

What is Eco fashion?

Eco-fashion embraces ethical alternatives to the fashion industry’s resource intensive and wasteful

Manciny Migwi

practices. This is because a mass market approach is often adopted where products are developed with instant consumption in mind. It is devoted to sustainability and is steadily gathering steam as it expresses ecological, social and community consciousness. It is the fastest growing approach in the global fashion world. It has become very popular because it is fresh, innovative and elegant, thanks to the growing environmental awareness.

When did you start your business?

I decided to start in August 2011. I am an eco fashionista and very passionate about fashion. I make trendy and chic handbags/clutches from recycled plastic (landfills and production leftovers).

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Where have you showcased your products?

I have showcased my bags at Mwangaza Festival and Nairobi Fashion Market and got rave reviews. I also emerged a finalist in the Chase Bank/Enablis/ILO Business Launch pad competition.

What do you think makes your business unique?

It is durable and sustainable; rooted in traditions of craftsmanship and quality. My products are built to last and are ethical, not a one off. We make our products using socially responsible methods of production to create customised handbags and clutches. The uniqueness is in the products being fashionable but environment conscious.

What is your work history?

I was in Marketing and Administration between 2001 and 2009. Then I worked as personal assistant at Kondakis Enterprises from July 2010 to January 2011 before venturing into business.

Where did you study?

I have a Diploma in Entrepreneurship and Business Management from Daystar University in 2007.

What do you love about what you do?

I love being my own boss; working my own hours. I particularly love getting to sleep in most Mondays. What is most satisfying however is seeing clients appreciate my work and waking up every day and still loving what I do. Also working with an award winning artist who I respect is a source of inspiration and awesome.

What are the challenges in what you do?

There is a lot of ignorance among many on green fashion. Also, lack of capital to expand the business, poor brand recognition, and high registration fees/rates for exhibitions. This becomes a hindrance to showcase ones products.

How do you balance managing Juliani and your business?

I have a flexible work schedule and a supportive boss and team and the fact that I love what I do makes it easier to strike a balance between the two.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do?
Be blind to haters. Follow your heart and do what you do best. Get mentors who will guide you on your business but most importantly network - it works wonders.

What are your future plans?
Organic Farming specifically Cotton because I am planning to launch a fashion line next year. Secondly, I also want to set up a workshop and have an eco fashion outlet. Also, I want to set up an eco fashion forum or fashion week to showcase designers who engage in ethical fashion.

What do you do for fun?
I love to hang out with my family and my life group (Mashujaa). I also love attending live concerts, road trips, theatre and poetry, bowling, karaoke and watching soccer. You will easily find me at the stadium cheering on K’ogalo with the adherents. I am an ardent Man U-Barca fan in the Premier and UEFA leagues respectively.

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