How Helb loan propelled graduate to mitumba business
Monday, April 29, 2019 21:58
By DIANA MUTHEU
After completing his secondary school in 2010, Dominic Odongo travelled to Mombasa to help his elder brother run his second-hand clothes shop.
He never knew that the experience would come handy in his future enterprise that would earn him more than a hundred thousand in sales on a monthly basis.
“I then joined campus and during the long holidays I was in Mombasa helping my brother,” Mr Odongo said.
In 2012, while still in his second year at Egerton University, his brother gave him one of the shops so that he could start his own business.
Mr Odongo says that by saving his two Helb loans which amounted to Sh100,000, he was able to stock the empty shop handed to him by his brother.
“I employed an assistant and I could travel from Nakuru to Mombasa after every two weeks to check the business,” Mr Odongo says adding that he already had customers and his business picked up quickly.
The Analytical Chemistry graduate says that after completing school in 2015, he found no need to tarmac looking for employment.
“From 2016, I decided to give the business my best and since then, i have never regretted,” he says.
The 28-years-old entrepreneur, who run a shop called Dommy Collections that is located at Digo road, Mombasa, majors in women clothes. They are his target market.
As you enter his shop, the clothes are neatly arranged in the cabinet and one cannot tell if they are second-hand, popularly known as mitumba. The colour of the walls and the artistic arrangement are appealing to the eye.
The clothes includes dresses, skirts, blazers just to mention but a few. Their prices range from Sh1,000 to about Sh 5,000 depending on the quality.
Mr Odongo majors with classy mitumba which they call ‘camera’ in his industry jargon.
“Women are impulsive buyers compared to men. Also, their fashion change so fast and they are always on their toes to keep up with the new trends. So they have to buy clothes now and then. Even those who are employed prefer to buy mitumba, because they are unique,” Mr Odongo adds.
The businessman gets his bale of clothes from Mombasa, Nairobi and also Nakuru.
Mr Odongo, who is a fashion enthusiasts since his campus days where he used to be a model, says that the passion has aided him a great deal to man the business.
He markets his products in various social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Also, he gets customers through referrals.
In a month he can make from Sh100,000 to about Sh150,000.
The entrepreneur says that the downs in this field includes low sales in some months when customers are few.
Also, at times the supply of the bales faces a great challenge when the stocks run out.
“Sometimes you end up buying a whole bale but out of 200 pieces of clothes, only a few are ‘camera’ or none at all,” Mr Odongo adding that it is a big blow to his sales.
The entrepreneur says his parents could not understand why he chose to sell the second hand clothes.
“My parents and relatives told me I was an academician and said I belonged in a decent office, not a mitumba shop,” he says adding that he did not take that into account and decided to work hard to prove them wrong.
“Seventy percent of my classmates are unemployed. Those with jobs still struggle with meagre salaries. Looking for a job is frustrating and to date I follow the words of one of my lecturers, who said that he was imparting us with skills so that we could create employment for others.”
In his shop, he has employed two assistants.
He added that every youth including the graduates should have an attitude change and stop seeing some jobs as for other people or for school dropouts.
“We are living in an era of economic hardship and all we need is money. Respect your hustle, focus and never listen to the voices that mock you and you will succeed,” he said.
Mr Odongo says being consistent is his creator weapon and he would love to expand, grow and get bigger in the lucrative business.
He says that maybe one day he will work in a field in line with the Chemistry course.