Thursday, February 29, 2024

Stacey Auma: From ‘mama fua’ to running own Gikomba mitumba business

Stacey Auma’s journey to becoming a successful businesswoman is a testament to the power of determination, perseverance, and hard work. Her story is an inspiration to anyone who dreams of achieving their goals despite facing daunting challenges.

Stacey used to sell secondhand clothes on the streets of Nairobi, but this was a risky venture as county government officials often arrested her and her fellow traders. Undeterred, she continued searching for ways to make ends meet, dropping copies of her CV in various places, but unfortunately, nothing positive came her way.

After failing to secure employment opportunity, Stacey had to find new ways to make ends meet. She started by washing clothes for people at Greenspan area in Nairobi but had to stop due to severe back pain.

“I used to wash clothes for people at Greenspan area in Nairobi, but it reached a time when I was not able to do that because of severe back pain,” she narrated in a past interview.

Her mother then urged her to start a food vending business, which she did, but after four months of incurring losses, she gave up.

Undeterred, she decided to visit Gikomba market to see if she could find something to sell. Armed with just Sh. 1,000, she bought 30 pieces of sweater tops for Sh. 30 each, and sold them for Sh. 100 each, making a profit of Sh. 70 for each piece. She later moved on to selling jumpers, and even though she was arrested on her first day, she persevered and went on to sell all the jumpers the next day.

“I was arrested at 6pm and released at 9pm. I had to call my mother to send me bus fare because I had not sold anything. The following day I was there again, and this time, I sold all the jumpers. This boosted my morale so much,”  she narrated.

Stacey’s success in selling jumpers inspired her to join forces with other women to contribute money that enabled them to order a container of bales. After they received the bales, they subdivided them among themselves and began selling.

Stacey then opened a shop in Gikomba where she sells secondhand clothes, handbags, shoes, and household items. She also uses social media to advertise her products and attract more customers.

One of the challenges Stacey faces is getting bales that contain low-quality clothes, which result in losses. In such cases, she shares the weight of the loss with the customers. However, she also has to deal with difficult customers who are not satisfied with her products.

Despite these challenges, Stacey has been able to build a thriving business, thanks to her determination and hard work. She attributes her success to her mother’s unwavering support and the other women who contributed money to enable them to order a container of bales.

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In addition to running her business, Stacey is also a football coach who trains Black Warrior soccer team based in Ruiru, Nairobi. Her love for football started when she was a student at Kibera Girls Soccer Academy, where she played for four years. She later played for other teams before becoming a coach.

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