So what happens when you get pregnant and suddenly you can see the telltale signs that you will not be coming back to work after having your baby. Your boss knowing the uncertainties that come with getting pregnant tells you that you will need enough rest so you may only work up to the eighth month and thereafter take as much time as you need. It may come of as a long maternity leave but not always, sometimes it could mean it’s time to move on.
Those are the circumstances that pushed Sophy Osano to open her own shop. She had been doing the business for some time but only as a side hustle. She didn’t have a shop so most of the time she would run her business online and do deliveries on weekends or after working hours. The impending loss of her job meant that she had to take her side hustle seriously because soon it would be her main hustle.
“I knew I had to find a way to make my ends meet especially now that I was expecting a baby. Also as women we have very strong intuition and my intuition was telling me I was going to be a single parent to this baby so it was either I swim or drown bringing along my baby I just couldn’t see myself doing that so I swam.”
The mother of one found a shop in town along Moi Avenue and used her savings to set it up. She also hired someone to sell for her as she continued working awaiting the eighth month that her boss had given her. She sells a variety of female products from bags to womens clothes. This is a market she discovered when she was still in college selling clothes to students in hostels. She sells second hand clothes well known as mtumba because she feels they are affordable and unique making it easier for her to meet the needs of many clients.
In terms of a support system, her family members have been very supportive even though her mother up to date still asks her when she is going to get a job.
“I come from a place where they believe that for someone to be successful they need to be having a job and a corner office so they don’t understand how I can be content with what I do. I don’t let that get to me, I channel all my energy to my business and clients hopefully they will get on board eventually. They just might realize that business works and this is where am supposed to be and not at some corner office.”
The very talkative lady says that she may be doing well now but she has also faced her fair share of challenges. “There was a time things got so tough for me to an extent where I almost went into depression. The 2017 elections and repeat elections. They affected my business in that I had to close the shop during the most part of those days. I was not making money but then still had bills to pay. From the hospital bill since I gave birth at around that time to rent for the shop. All in all am greatful I got back on my feet and I forges on because of the passion I have for my business.
Sophy has the business to thank for some of the attributes she has gained over the years. She states that one of the impact entrepreneurship has had in her life is that she has grown. The maturity with which she handles her clients is something she could only get through experience. Another would be that she has always been a jovial and talkative person but with her business she has had to take it a notch higher.
“Customer care is my selling point. I have clients that I have never even met. Some are out of Nairobi. They order through our facebook page Sophy wa Mtumba Collections. I talk to my clients like they are my friends. You wouldn’t want your friend looking funny so I also make a point of advising clients on what looks best on them and I believe that this is what sets me apart.”
Her advice to people who want to be entrepreneurs and look up to other entrepreneurs who have already made it is that they should remember that their idols also started from scratch. They should be willing to put in the work and do something they are passionate about.It may seem so hard but it’s doable.
“Entrepreneurship is a very difficult journey but very fulfilling. I wake up every morning knowing I am building my own empire and I can pay my own bills, what could be better than that”