Growing up Collins Ruto would see suppliers such as Shah Outfitters and School Depots amongst other retailer’s trade well during the school opening seasons. This was expected from the high intake of new students by schools every year and it was cumbersome to wait in lines for an overly priced item. However, this experience sparked an entepreneurial desire in Collins. At only 25 years old he is the Managing Director at SunPride Garments a textile facility based in Eldoret.
What is SunPride Garments all about?
We are a textile industry that has been running since 2016. We pride ourselves in being a cut above the rest in terms of distribution and bulk manufacturing & branding of all uniform items as well as providing low-cost high-quality general uniforms that cater to organizations, institutions, and industries.
Why did you venture into the textile industry?
It goes all the way back to the long queues at uniform shops when schools were opening. I developed an interest in the industry. As time would have it in 2014 I started producing and selling Sweatshirts and hoodies while still in the campus. Right after graduation, I started an in-house manufacturing facility.
How did you finance your business when starting out?
The idea of venture capitalists was discouraging. Thus we leveraged more on friends of family and family whom we agreed on a payment plan once we had our foot together, which brought SunPride Garments into action.
What are the 5 key elements have amounted to the success of SunPride Garments?
Strategy, Bookkeeping, Persistence, Marketing and Research, these are the most fundamental aspects of a business and an Entrepreneur. We have made a system out of these 5 aspects that have enabled us to develop a conscious, logical and an ethical approach to how we go around clients and businesses and in turn enabled us to grow.
What are some of the challenges you have faced running the business and how have you overcome them?
Employee redundancy remains a key issue within the casual sector. Micro & SMEs face a high level of competition from key industry players, lack of proper entrepreneurial skills, mentoring programs and post facilitation for the semi-skilled. Some of the challenges have affected SunPride Garments
All these we have managed to walk over them through incentives, guerilla and door to door marketing tactics and semi internship programs respectively.
What are some of the major accomplishments for Sunpride Garments?
We have managed to grow in leaps since inception to date while supplying school uniforms amongst other related products, through this we have managed to win a couple awards from Founders of the Year Awards, Safaricom Blaze BYOB retail and manufacturing Regional Editions & Kenya national innovation Agency Awards, Engineering and Manufacturing Category.
What’s your attitude towards being your own boss and a young entrepreneur?
Being your own boss to me means devoted undefined hours, sweat and never-ending commitment. Hard work shall beat Talent any day and this goes to show being an entrepreneur you have to work twice as hard to balance your inputs and outputs, however, though the journey can be the most uphill exercise you will encounter again the fruits are juicy and motivational
What are your marketing strategies for SunPride Garments in this competitive digital space?
We strive to have that personal connection with our retailers and wholesalers as they are our biggest market and offering them discounts as well as perks for being consistently unwavering in supporting us. In the digital space we have managed to keep an active site with a responsive outlook to attract our clients both to be and current.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?
I hope to actualize my vision of having our textile facility grow in leaps per year to a regionally based brand and see us expand strong retail outlets in surrounding environs such as Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi county and parts of western Kenya.
We hope to see our products nationwide hopefully and secure lateral growth within our industry to cover parts that shall make us more profitable.
If you were to go back in time, what would you do differently that would have contributed enormously to the success of the business?
I would streamline the management aspect of the business, this is because dealing with Institutions and organizations can be a tedious process when it comes down to payments, therefore, I would have adopted a lean approach in operation and work towards a stricter policy in regards to cash collection from the bulk order consumers.
What would you tell upcoming entrepreneurs who are struggling at the bottom but determined to make it to the top?
Don’t think too hard trying to re-invent the wheel that already exists, instead look for other multiple uses and additional functionalities that shall assist it in boosting efficiency while adding value.
Look around you, something was built or made by someone, Select a specific item and work backward to how it was made, this way you might find what they missed or an improvement, capitalize on that and rest assured you will have something to show by the end of the day.
There is NO I in a successful Business, Teamwork will always make the Dream Work