While on maternity leave, Janet thought this period as the opportune moment for her to delve into business, a decision she had put on hold for seven years.
She started off selling women’s second hand clothes. She would go to Gikomba market (synonymous with second hand clothing) and hawk the clothes to her peers. The business picked due to the demand for affordable but unique clothing. She later went on social media, with Instagram being her main tool of marketing under the brand name Rika Wardrobe.
The demand shot up due to a wider reach and her unique value proposition.
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Her proposition is that everything sells for Sh600 regardless of if it’s a dress, heels or a skirt. Her aspiration is to have Rika Wardrobe brand visible across malls and to become a strong clothing brand.
Who better to be of guidance to Janet than Wandia Gichuru, the co-founder of VIVO Active wear, an established clothing line spread across Kenya? Here are some of Wandia’s tips to Janet.
Don’t underprice your product
Understand your target market and charge an appropriate price with a mark-up of at least 30 per cent to give the business the potential to scale (up). Underpricing hinders the ability of the business to scale as the business will not be able cater for other vital costs such as rent and administration.
Differentiate your products
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Differentiation of products allows for different price points, which gives room for the business to gain higher margins from the products sold. This allows for the business to cater for the different kinds of clientele.
Have products with a longer lifestyle
To avoid dead stock in the business, have stock that has a longer life-cycle as opposed to trendy items as their timelines are quite short.
Hire for potential
Staff is vital for business growth. It is rare that you will find one who will immediately fit into the vision of the business, so nurturing should be intentional from the entrepreneur. Hire someone with potential rather than the right fit.
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Build trust in the business brand
Returns are part of the clothing business. To minimise returns, build trust in the business by having your brand associated with quality, and one that keeps its word.