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Complaints that nurtured successful business idea

By Nanjinia Wamuswa | March 18th 2015
Ms Yvonne Nduku Kyalo showing one of her lands that she deals with. [PHOTO BY NANJINIA WAMUSWA/STANDARD ]

Kenya: Yvonne Nduku Kyalo’s dream was to get good grades and study medicine or engineering. However, she failed to make the mark and ended up in an area she had never envisioned; business.

Her big break came when she was working for a clearing and forwarding firm in Mombasa in 2009 and met many people complaining about lack of professional dry cleaning services in the town.

“They said their clothes were not being cleaned well, especially collars and sleeves,” says Nduku, 28.

The complaints that dry cleaners were sleeping on their jobs, planted a business idea in Nduku’s mind. And for the first time, she thought about venturing into the dry cleaning business.

She knew the complaints were due to simple mistakes, and she did not understand why the dry cleaners were not heeding their customers’ cries.

She resolved to capitalise on their failures. She quit her agent job, and travelled to Nairobi to set up a dry cleaning business, where there were similar complaints.

“The complaints sounded like sweet music to my ears, for that is the area l decided to concentrate on and correct.”

In February 2009, armed with Sh50,000 in capital that she had saved from her previous job, Nduku started Hollympic Cleaners located at Embassy House. She had only a chair and table but it was at least a place her customers could find her.

She started by hiring cleaning equipment, and informed others offices in the building about her new business, and how it aimed to change dry cleaning services for the better.

At first they resisted, telling her that was the “usual language” of anyone in business.

“Some of their responses scared me and l almost abandoned the idea.”

However, the few who bought in and gave it a try saved the day. She recalls starting with five customers. Her services included cleaning of suits, dresses, wedding dresses, leather and suede jackest, seats, carpets and curtains among others. She has a special machine that washes mattresses, pillows and feather blankets.

She added fresheners, according to her clients taste, and her professionalism increased her customer base.

With high numbers, she opened three more branches in Imara, Muthaiga and Ronald Ngala Street, with two employees in each.


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