#TEFALUMNICORNER: Charity, the Designer Who Creates Meaning Through Fashion
Over the years, fashion and designs have taken so many forms and have evolved into something that a lot of us express ourselves in, irrespective of where you are from. well, for some people, it is more of a drive to enhance the confidence of the people around them who wear these clothing designs and even much more!
Today on TEF Alumni Corner, we introduce to you one of our Kenyan Entrepreneurs named Charity Nyakundi who’s making great strides in the world of art, fashion and designs. And like the popular saying, ”Charity does truly begins at home”.
Q: Can you tell us about your business?
A: The name of my business is Porabe Designs (meaning, Clean) and we deal in artisan clothing, we design clothes, we make the clothes ourselves and the fabric too.
Q: What inspired your business and how old is it now?
A: When I was young, most people could not afford clean clothes, so I had a dream to make affordable clothes for everyone and new ones exactly and that is because in my country, most people are middle class and most are farmers, a lot of them cannot afford new and clean clothes and will mostly always buy second-hand or used clothes. So, I decided to make my clothes very affordable and readily available. My business is currently 2 years old.
Q: When did you become a Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur and how has it helped your business?
A: I became a TEF entrepreneur around December 2021 and it has really helped me upscale my business. I’ve been able to purchase more sewing machines and open one more production store and because of that, I’ve been able to hire eight (8) more employees.
Q: After training and mentorship from the TEF entrepreneurship programme, how has your operational model changed?
A: Well, after the programme, it opened my eyes to be able to recognise and take on many opportunities that come my way and as regards improving my business, despite all the many challenges that being an entrepreneur brings and even when you feel like giving up sometimes.
Q: How many steps ahead would you say the TEF seed funding helped you get to?
A: Well, i would say if there were 10 steps i had to make, it took me all the way to seven (7) steps ahead.
Q: How do you market your business and which methods have been the most successful since completing the TEF Training and Mentorship programme?
A: I market my business on social media like Instagram and Facebook and sometimes i wear them when i have to go out and I show them to my friends too. The online marketing strategy has been the most profitable so far and I’m also looking to open an online store on platforms like Jumia.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face as an entrepreneur in your operational environment?
A: I’m going to say the taxes. Here in Kenya, we are heavily taxed and sometimes the cost of materials is variably high so we have some bad days where we have very little or no sales.
Q: What are some of the solutions you might suggest to help solve these challenges?
A: I think the government should give small businesses like ours some sort of incentives to help us stay in business and also make loans readily available for entrepreneurs.
Q: As you know, the core of the TEF Entrepreneurship programme is to promote Africapitalism, how has your business been able to make an impact in that light?
A: Like I said earlier, most of my clients are artisans and are living in African villages where good and new clothing are not easily accessible so I make sure that they have good clothes that can be worn to occasions that are very important to them and the people around me appreciate it and are really happy that what they have from my business is original, authentic and long lasting.
~ Author: Derek Nwankwo