By Maina Waruguru: Nairobi City “hawkers” Market hosts several small businesses among them “KIBUE HERITAGE”. Kuhora Peter Kanyi, a young man in his mid-thirties, married and a father of three is seated outside his shop which sells African Traditional Antics (ATA), Batiks and oil paintings.
Peter travels from Ruiru each every morning to reach his working place. Peter worked for his uncle as a merchandiser from 1995 in a similar business venture in Nairobi. The uncles business was managed by his uncle’s wife.
“Things worked against me. Many times I was forced to work under pressure and hardships, and I could only earn ksh100 a day.” Explains Peter. He says conditions got tougher, and in 1997, he quit his uncle’s job and joined the matatu industry where he worked as conductor until 2000.
While working for his uncle, he developed passion for business and to be more specific, he dreamed of putting up a personal shop that specialized in ATAs. Peter’s initial capital came from his personal savings from informal business and employment. He saved Ksh. 4000 from the employment and Ksh. 10,000 from business. He bought his first stock from rural areas in Maasai and Turkana regions cheaply, and came to sell the merchandise in Nairobi. He acquired the products at low cost, adding to his advantage to grow his stock at his shop. This has been routine for him for the last thirteen years which his business has been in existence, able to control the profit and stabilizing his business.
“The price vary depending on customers visiting my shop, prices on items to tourists is not the same for local buyers who mostly sight their interest in products as decorations in their homes” Peter Kahora.
Despite the short-comings he encounters, Peter says his clients vary, though tourists form part of his key clientele. He has managed to develop brand recognition, supplying locally and abroad. “The price vary depending on customers visiting my shop, prices on items to tourists is not the same for local buyers who mostly sight their interest in products as decorations in their homes” says Peter. “ATAs have an impact to foreigners, who buy with an aim of learning more about African traditions and cultures. To them price on items is not a problem,” explains Peter in defense of his temporal pricing.
During tourists pick seasons, Peter says he’s able to make more money by selling his ATAs up to Ksh. 100,000; he keeps part of his savings to wait low seasons enabling him make continued sourcing and sustenance of his business. “Through my business, I have been able to support two of my nieces to complete their college studies,” says Peter with stretch of his pride depicted on his smile. He has also employed a young man who keeps his job awake in his absence.
Kuhora Peter holds is optimistic that tourism sector will improve, since his business largely depend on the sector. Unlike many dealers in ATAs, he is informed and knowledgeable about each traditional item contained in his shop. He is able to systematically elaborate their value, use and importance varying with Kenyan communities that identify with items he sales.
Peter’s advice to other young people is, “start and match forth to your dream. Nothing comes easily, just start from anything, and put all your effort, hard work pays.” He concludes, by calling on the youth to develop patience, doing whatever they do, since some ideas require a long-term endurance, to be successful.