Where we grow up has an influence on who we become. We can choose to use our background to cry and complain or we can use it to create a beautiful story that can only be compared to a breathtaking piece of art.
Njeri Kabiru’s story is one such breathtaking art. Having grown up in Dandora, a well-known damp site in Nairobi, there was no lamenting about her environment but rather turn the waste into fine art literally. She converts waste tyres into furniture and wine bottles into flower vases and lampshades among other things. It helped that she is a creative person, so when creativity, passion, and hunger to make a difference in the environment met the results were mind-blowing! And voila! A business was born.
“I have always been a creative person and even as a child I would draw in my books and most of the time I would be discouraged that nothing much ever came out of being an artist. As an adult, now I get where they were coming from. There is not enough support in this industry. I have seen so many artists give up and let go of their crafts to venture into other fields. For me, that is not an option. My art is my baby.”
Njeri, a mother of one, is determined to watch her business grow and flourish despite the challenges she faces. She advocates for business people not to push too fast too quickly. This being one of the lessons she learned on her entrepreneurial journey. When she started out she had no money and relied on friends and family. She would, therefore, make one table sell it and from the profit, she would make two. The cycle continued until her business began to take shape.,
“We all need a little help when starting something new. Am so grateful to my friends and family who came through when I needed a loan. Some went a step further to buy my pieces as well as referred me to more clients.”
The entrepreneur uses social media i.e. Facebook and YouTube to market her pieces to her target audience. Her clients include homes, hotels and offices that need decorative chairs, tables, lampshades, flower vases etc.
Njeri’s motivation comes from her quest to inspire others her daughter included. She wants to show her daughter that you may not choose where you are born but you can choose where to be buried through the choices you make in life.
Her parting shot to upcoming entrepreneurs,
“Work on yourself. What you make is as important as who you are. People don’t just buy your product because it’s decorative or functional, there are probably so many more out there but they buy from you because it’s meaningful to you and they can see your passion through your work.”