Delivery Business in Kenya: “My name is Loise Kamanu. I am 25 years old. I am the founder and managing director of Modest Collections, a courier company that collects and delivers goods from online retailers in Kenya to their customers.
I founded this company in 2016 at the age of 23. At such a young age, perhaps I could not have had the skills and the stomach to run an enterprise had I not gone through employment.
I got my first job in January 2015 shortly after completing studies for my counseling psychology degree at the University of Nairobi. I can still remember how it happened. I was walking along Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi one evening, tired and worn out after a day of hunting for jobs in vain.
As I walked, I bumped into a former high school mate who I hadn’t seen for years. After a few catch-up remarks, she told me that a real estate company she worked for as a secretary had a few job openings. I took down the application addresses and the following day, I sent my application. I was fortunate and got a job as a sales representative. My gross starting pay was Sh. 20,000 per month.
Despite the seemingly low salary, I couldn’t have been happier. I had prayed for a job, walked for miles in search of it, and dropped dozens and dozens of application letters to multiple companies in vain. But my joy was short lived. One month down the line, the reality of the kind of job and remuneration I had gotten began to sink in. For a start, it was not an easy job.
It was too demanding and consumed more funds than my resources could afford. For example, as sales representatives, we were required to cater for our own expenses in all the high end venues and restaurants we were sent to pitch for business. This meant that almost all of the gross pay of Sh. 20,000 that I got was munched by bus fares and meals.
Quitting this job, though, was not an easy thing to do. I was afraid that leaving would plunge me back into the jobless corner. I was also afraid that there were many other young people who were praying and yearning for the same position I held.
This somehow made me feel guilty. But by October, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was drained financially and emotionally. I wasn’t making any financial developments. I took the jump.
Soon after quitting, I realized that I was not as bad off as I had been ten months before I was employed. My job had given me experiences and opened my eyes to multiple possibilities in the corporate world. With a degree in my purse, I was open to getting employed again in better paying positions.
But my experience at the real estate company had also given me a nugget of a business idea that I could start. You see, in my former job, one of my tasks was to look for clients online. In the process, I had noticed that the number of online shops in Nairobi was on the rise. I asked myself how these shops delivered the products that clients ordered for. The answer could be a good business opportunity.
Now that I was jobless and with lots free time, I decided to carry out research on how goods bought on online shops reached their buyers. I did this on the sidelines of my search for another job. From my research, I discovered that many online shops did not have efficient delivery services. This discovery was a breath of life for my bubbling business idea. I decided to quit my pursuit for another job and instead start a delivery business.
But as is wont to happen to a new entrepreneur, my starting vision was not very clear. I did not also have adequate capital for a fully-fledged delivery venture. Consequently, I moved away from starting a delivery service to online sales.
Delivery Business in Kenya
In January 2016, I dug out the money I had saved and added some funds from a chamaa group where I was a member, and with a total of Sh. 20,000, I bought a few items and started selling online. I would take photos of the goods and post on social media channels and other open online sales channels. I named my online sales handle as Modest Collections.
Perhaps I was naïve, for I had expected that buyers would start streaming in immediately. But for three weeks, no one contacted me to ask about any of the goods I had posted. This caused me to start second-guessing my decision to go into entrepreneurship.
Nevertheless, one and a half months later, my phone started ringing. This marked the birth of a new challenge. My clients wanted me to deliver the goods they had ordered, which took me full circle back to my original delivery business idea. To make deliveries, I would be forced to send a boda boda to deliver the goods. The cost was too high, sometimes higher than the total price of the goods on sale.
There were also times when the boda boda riders I used would mishandle goods only for clients to end up rejecting them. All this, compounded with late deliveries, forced me to revert back to my delivery services idea. I approached a bank and after a few months of vigorous pitching exercises, I was given a loan to transform my business from online sales to delivery services.
In July 2016, I officially registered Modest Collections, bought motorcycles, and hired trained professional riders. I got it right this time. Business started to stream in. Today, I have seven motorcycles and from the profits and growing operating capital, the business now has an office in Ngara, Nairobi.
Interestingly, my business has grown in tandem with the growth of the e-commerce industry in the country. And this being a young and unexploited field, the best of my business growth is yet to come. Currently, I am strategizing on how I can expand the business to Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret within the next five years.
Above all, I am glad that I ventured into both employment and entrepreneurship at a young age. I am also happy that I have defied the myth that young women have no place in business. Over the past three years that I have been in business, I have learned that success for women in business boils down to how well they plan and execute their business ideas, and not how old they are!” Delivery Business in Kenya. Delivery Business in Kenya.