Friday, December 1, 2023

Linda Maina: How you can start a vibrant shoe enterprise with Sh5,000

”The Coronavirus pandemic has taught us a lot.’’ These are the words that Linda Maina stresses as Bizna Team approaches her at her shop along Mfangano Street, Nairobi.

Linda is the founder of Biglink Fashion, a clothing store in Sunbeam building in Nairobi’s Mfangano Street that specializes in both wholesale and retail of canvas shoes and men’s clothes.

The 30-year-old revealed the journey began in 2020 with only Sh70,000, which were proceeds from her savings.  Initially, she would sell items online as a side hustle while working at a barber shop in Westlands.

The barber, by profession, realized the business paid her handsomely, prompting her to try it as a full-time job. With Sh70,000 capital, she used a quarter of the money to acquire a shop while the rest went to stock.

”I realized that three-quarter of what I had saved went to rent and deposit and on renovation of the shop. I was left with less than Sh10,000, and that is what I started with.

”I went to Eastleigh and purchased a few pieces of clothes and all my friends here were laughing at me because I didn’t have stock. I sold what I had and a bit of drop shipping, and with time, my business expanded’’ Linda recalled.

University drop-out starts high-flying shoe business

While the business did well at first, she realized she had a lot of dead stock. This is when she decided to try the shoe business, which she says is better compared to the second-hand clothing business.

Linda imports her shoes direct from China, while some brands are sourced locally. She does both retail and wholesale trade. She sells some brands at a wholesale price of Sh500 (per 10 pieces) while the others go for Sh600.

She encouraged people intending to venture into the business to believe in themselves and  ‘go for it’. According to her, with just Sh5,000, one can successfully start a shoe business and make a fortune.

”Even if you have Sh5,000, don’t be afraid to get started. With Sh5k, you will be able to get 10 pieces. Pick different sizes and sell them to your clients.”

”When you sell each at Sh1,000, you will be able to get a profit of Sh500 from each. With time, you will be able to tell the top-selling designs and sizes,’’ she said.

A spot check of some of the shoe brands she sells at her shop established that they retail at up to Sh1,800 in major shopping outlets in Nairobi.

She notes that social media platforms have played a big part in her success. She encouraged others to make good use of the platforms to market their products.

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