A middle aged mother who resigned from her sales managerial job in Githunguri Sub-county of Kiambu County is smiling her to the bank after opting to trade on second hands clothes.
Her new venture has proved worthwhile as the returns have turned around her life overnight because her merchandise commonly known as mitumba are selling like hot cakes in Githunguri town.
The Mitumba have become popular because of their uniqueness, affordability and durability that makes people prefer them to new clothes from the shops
“Children are now home for holidays and I clear my stock as early as 3.30 p.m and return home to mother my children aged 12 and 14 years respectively” she says.
Cecilia Mbugua told KNA from her stall in Githunguri town that she is not only happy with her business, but that it has now enabled her to spend more time with her children which are essential for child development.
The mother of two says she quit her job after discovering that many people in Githunguri preferred warm clothing owing to the cold weather. “Githunguri and her neighbourhood can be extremely cold and you will rarely find new clothing that are warm enough to cope with this kind of weather”
Additionally, with the current economy, few local people cannot afford to buy brand new clothes from boutiques and this has forced many of them to turn to ‘mitumba’ and also providing us with an opportunity to eke a living from bringinhg the clothes nearer to them, she said while attending to customer.
“I have been in the business now for one year and it has thrived quite effectively and I owe my success to my customers whom I cherish so much as some of them book specific items which I ensure I get them as I open a bale after a span of a week or so” she says.
The 36-year-old quit her previous job as a sales manager in a local company, so as to raise her second child who was sickly for some time.
She says that she remained optimistic that she would land another job soon after the child got better but that it was not to be and she made many job applications and cannot remember the any company that responded to the applications. The search became elusive and impatience crept in but as she walked around her village, she spotted the manner in which mothers dressed their toddlers ”she says.
She says that since she had already had vast knowledge about children preferences when it came to baby clothes and her exposure in many social functions, she decided to venture into selling second hand clothes. “I focused on children aged of 0 to 6 years as these were the ages which mothers paid serious attention to before they went to school.
As they say ‘January is a month accompanies various financial hardships’ Mrs. Mbugua’s business did not prosper at inception as she ventured into it at the beginning of the year.
“In the beginning I could not manage to sell anything may it be a romper or diaper holder in a day. Business was really low and I even thought about quitting” she said.
Her business has however grown beyond boarders. Mrs. Mbugua managed to expand her clientel soon after she established her stall.
In only one year, she says she is flexible and physically moved to other nearby towns such as Githiga, Kagwe, and Kwa-maiko in an effort to attract more customers. She also sells them at affordable prices that enables her to clear out her stock in three days and goes for other bale. “I endevour to clear my clothes so that I do not have dead stock” she says
She buys a bale with an assortment of items that if she bought one item at wholesale, she would not make as much as she makes from the bale. She says that for an item that would go for 20 shillings, she sells it for between 70 to 100 shillings. She says that she buys her bale at between 6,000 to 8,000 shillings and by the time she completes selling it, she makes about 10 to 11,000 shillings.
On a good day, she says sells 40 pieces per day and after deduction of her daily expenses Ms. Mbugua pockets 1500 daily. She says she cannot compare her current job with the previous one that she hardly saw her children fumble with their homework.
“The income I earn in the business is triple of what I used to make in my previous employment. My Customers have been pushing me to set up a shop and hopefully by the end of this year I will have one big shop in Githunguri town. This will help me increase my variety of merchandise and hopefully attract more people” she said
She concluded that the money has enabled her support her family and husband especially with the domestic expenses, whereby in a month she earns 45,000 shillings as she does not have an off day. “I work from Monday to Monday and go to other trading centers on respective market days so as to sell to people who only do their shopping on market days”
She called on young people to be innovative saying there were many opportunities out there but most people remained choosy and had apathy to work.
By Lydia Shiroya and Wambui Ng’ang’a