ROSEMARY KATHAMBI a Nairobi-based entrepreneur explains to SILAS NYAMWEYA how she discovered a gap in the mannequins (dummies) market, and ran with the business which is now earning her a decent living.
Briefly introduce yourself.
I am an entrepreneur in Nairobi, Kenya. I run a business where we sell mannequins (dummies), hangers, movable racks, shoes and jewellery displays. We go by the name Display Materials Ke on all social media platforms. I am passionate about entrepreneurship and creating employment for the youth.
What drove your interest in shop dummies?
First of all, the business gap in the market was so huge and it gave me an incentive to pursue this journey. I studied the market and saw a gap in this area. Secondly, the uniqueness of this particular niche also caught my attention. You can all agree not many people are into this type of business and so for me, this was fascinating. Lastly, I have always had a strong desire to bring a direct solution to fashion store owners by offering products that impact positively on sales.
Briefly describe some of the items you deal with?
We have mannequins or dummies as many call them. In this category, we have men, ladies and kids mannequins. We also do have a variety of hangers; adult and kids sizes, movable clothes racks, jewellery display, and shoe display items among others.
How are these items used precisely?
The mannequins act as models on the display window. They showcase the pieces available in a boutique and how they fit. They create the first impression and are the first thing clients interact with when they visit any fashion shop. The hangers and movable racks play a complementary role. They help keep the shop neat and organized. Help improve the shopping experience for clients since they don’t have to wade through huge piles of clothes. Every item we sell plays a key role in displaying pieces in boutiques and beauty shops.
What is the cost range for some of these items?
Mannequins start from as little as sh.1500 to as high as sh.35000 depending on the material used to make them.
Who are your target customers and how do you reach them?
Our target client is Fashionpreneurs. They include all boutique owners and aspiring owners. We reach them through advertising, mainly online and through referrals.
How much do you make in a month?
Enough to make us stay around and keep working hard
You are planning to make the shop dummies yourself, how will you go about this?
The future plan is to be able to make all types of dummies in the country. We are investing in research and lots of learning around the same. Once everything is set, we’ll begin the project right away.
What other plan do you have concerning this business?
To someday export our dummies to other countries, especially East Africa.
Any major challenge so far in your business?
Well, tonnes of them but we stay committed to the course. For example, the rise in the cost of living is greatly affecting us as people prioritize survival over anything else such as dummies or fashion trends on that case.
Your parting short?
I’d like to encourage more young people to embrace entrepreneurship. And encourage all business people to keep pushing.