Meet Riba Wangare, the CEO of Petals Fashion a boutique that sells both men and ladies wear. She has always loved fashion but just needed a little push to take it seriously and transform her passion into a business. That nudge came but just not the way she was expecting it.
“My former employer closed shop and with my love for fashion, I decided not to look for employment and instead venture into entrepreneurship and in the process at least create jobs.”
Riba used her savings to venture into entrepreneurship and deal with the challenges as they came.
“As a new business, it’s very hard to get clients because you are not known and there are other similar ventures that are established so you have to get creative. So I started with family and friends and sold them outfits on credit. Some were a bit slow in paying back but I didn’t let that discourage me as I was determined to see my business take off.”
Petals Fashion mostly does online sales and usually clients have to send cash before the items are dispatched. The challenge comes in when a new client finds it hard to trust them seeing that many people have been duped online where memes have even been created on what you order versus what you get. This is where social media came in handy for her. She always encourages her potential clients to check for reviews on her online pages and when most see that there are no complaints it becomes a little easier for them to trust her.
“Social media that is facebook and instagram has not only helped us with building trust but also marketing. The other form of marketing I use is referrals.”
Riba builds a successful customer base by doing three things. The first thing is being honest with her customers. “I like to be honest on the exact specific item they inquire about or order in terms of the fabric and availability. I don’t promise to sell what I don’t have. Secondly, I try to sell unique products. Third, I ensure that my prices are affordable.”
With similar businesses in the market what sets the young entrepreneur apart is she follows up with her customers to know how they liked the products. Often times she posts clients pictures on her facebook page and thanks them for shopping with Petals Fashion.
The young entrepreneur emphasizes the fact that being self-employed is so fulfilling. When asked what skill she thinks one needs to have in order to be a successful entrepreneur Riba adds, “Well,I am still young in this business so wouldn’t say am all that successful but I know patience and hardwork are key.”