Building a brand is always not for the fainthearted, former mitumba (second hand) clothes dealer who is building a fashion brand Rembo International Mr Kelvin Nzioki Musyoka narrates how he took control of his future and that of the industry in his own words.
Back in 2011 I was a second hand clothes vendor, buying clothes from Gikomba market in Nairobi then selling them in my Kiosk in Machakos.
The business failed due to rent rates and then in a years’ time I was on whatsaap selling online to my few friends. The urge to start a brand and make it big grew in me in such a way that I decided to abandon the business and now begin manufacturing from scratch.
I did that from 2014 with my first jacket then evolved in 2015 feb when I made the first laptop bag and gym bag that scaled the business in a months’ time.
Specialise in bags
I decided to specialize in bags because they were the strong point of the business until now and then because I would like Rembo to have an attached product to it which is ”bags” then you can accessorize with a matching shirt or dress etc.
Being in the industry for 2-years now I have had my better share of achievements one being in the runway with Slum Fashion Africa-the first fashion hub in East and Central Africa.
I have participated in Malindi Fashion week held by Shado Media Group, I have also partnered with Urban Night fusion in Michael Joseph centre and Lavington exhibitions, I have worked with Wecreate Centre in Lavington where I’ve met designers and entrepreneurs from different areas.
I have worked under The Ministry of Industries and Co-oporatives in the Nairobi Innovations week 2015, I have exhibited at the Nairobi Ask show 2015 under The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority.
Biggest challenge has been marketing my products a mistake I came to know since I had put more focus on production and forgot about pushing the product to the market.
My biggest highlight is being distinct which has seen many customers sending me photos of my competitors and placing orders, that has made me know that reliability is key no matter your size in the market.
Future plan is to build a large-sized manufacturing plant for local designers and cut down poor work done by the existing tailors.
We also intend to open a design school and create brands like Italy in 80’s when they produced over 400 fashion brands, apart from that I would like to make modeling a profession not a hobby that involves reasonable wages.
My adivice to entrepreneurs is ‘Dont wait to start to be great, but start to be great.’