Vanessa Bwibo, an entrepreneur, business woman and founder of Bwibo's dishes and Juices, knows too well the ups and downs of starting a business as a young woman. But this did not stop her from growing a simple hobby into a profitable business that earns her a living.
She talks about how a small opportunity grew into a fully grown business of providing and how she has endured the challenges of business as a woman.
How did you start your business?
I started my business online. It was a hobby that I used to do, cooking on Instagram and showing people my recipes. One day some guys requested that I make for them what I had made on Instagram and that was the first pay I got out of my ‘hobby’ that turned into business. I saw an opportunity and dawned on it.
What was your starting capital?
My starting capital was Ksh20, 000/=
How did you market and sell your first products?
I put out a post on my social media accounts and requested my followers to share it and fortunately it unexpectedly reached many people. That’s when I started receiving very many orders. Most of my clients supported me by sharing my business to their friends and family.
What made your product unique from the rest in a business where there are many competitors?
You have to believe in your product and yourself. My presentation caught people’s eyes and everyone wanted to actually know what’s more than the aesthetics in it, and I did not disappoint. I was good in both marketing and making sure that ‘what you see is what you get.’ Quality food and juice is something everyone has been wanting, and that’s what I offered.
What has been your biggest challenge as a woman running a business so far?
Struggling to be taken seriously majorly because I’m a young woman. However, I try to break these barriers by becoming really good at what I do, your results speak for themselves and in the end people start realizing just how big of a deal your business is.
Coping with the fear of failure has also been challenging. Most women tend to have insecurities in themselves because society views them different and as ‘weak.’ I encourage myself to work through moments of self-doubt and to keep dreaming big. I stay focused and avoid societal misconducts.
What did you study in campus?
Economics and statistics at University of Nairobi.
What advice would you give to other young women looking to start their own businesses?
I would say go for it. Let nothing stop you, diminish the self-doubts, insecurities and fears. The world is waiting for you to conquer it, so why not go ahead and do so? Furthermore, you have all that it takes to win in life.
What lessons have you learnt so far about running a business?
That it is not easy, but worth it. Running a business is like going to school to learn about yourself, a business can push you to the edge but you need to know how to react to every situation, wisely.
You get to understand what patience, hard work, perseverance and breaking boundaries is and in all this, you get to see yourself in another form. Once you get through the tough times in business, the world prepares you for greater things in life. I have learnt to be strong and to respect every single person who started their business from scratch up, it takes a lot from you but at the same time builds you immensely. Never give up!