For plus size women, the hustle of being fashionistas can be a little too much, with very few designers to customize their outfits. Valentine Nekesa, a young entrepreneur passionate about fashion and design saw the opportunity to tap into this underexplored market. Valentine runs a successful cloth line dubbed Nekesa Queens for plus size women whom they call Tripple C (Curvy Confident Chic) at Nekesa queens. Nekesa shares with us about her business venture.
What products does Nekesa Queens have?
We design and tailor make outfits for the plus size woman. We have both readymade and a customized line depending on our clients’ preferences. Our clients range from age 21 to 35.
Most of our activities happen in our tailoring shop in CBD (Nairobi textiles)
Nekesa Queens is now officially 3 years old.
What inspired you to open Nekesa Queens?
I come from a family full of plus-size women. I have seen the challenges that come with being plus-size first hand. They lack proper gorgeous outfits for special occasions. And I decided if I can do something about that need then why not. Most fashion lines cater for the petite lady leaving out the African woman’s body type which is curvy.
How much did you start your fashion line with?
I started Nekesa Queens 3 years ago with only 1500 shillings and a local tailor back at home that money was for buying fabric and paying the tailors service and from there it kicked off. That ksh1500 was my pocket money while on campus. But as at now, we make ksh35000 on the low.
What challenges did you face starting out and how did you overcome them?
When I was starting Nekesa Queens lots of clients really doubted my capability to deliver because of my age. But I made sure I learned the art of under promising and over delivering. With time they came to appreciate my work and marvel at the outcome of my hard work.
What has been the best moment if your entrepreneurial journey?
We won the BYOB TV show in its first ever edition. It was a really humbling moment for me and my business as well. The financial support together with the training has helped Nekesa Queens grow. We were also listed as the top40under40 in 2017 which was really amazing
What is your attitude towards being your own boss and a young entrepreneur?
There is nothing as fulfilling as being your own boss it forces you to learn the art of financial freedom, which is the best thing that can happen to someone. Once you discover at an early age you are cut for entrepreneurship and not employment you are able to make mistakes early enough and learn from, hence giving you time to pick yourself up in time.
How do you market your business in this digital space?
We depend a lot on word of mouth but also we have a budget for online marketing. Our customers are queens and we have to treat them right. We ensure proper service delivery at the agreed time, in line with their orders and requests just to give a good customer experience with our products.
Where do you see yourself and your business five years from now?
I envision Nekesa Queens as a one-stop company for plus size women all over Africa not only for outfits but for confidence growth sessions. Nekesa Queens is rebranding into a fashion line that not only dresses curvy woman body but also dresses her confidence. We want to start sessions to interact from plus size women all over and listen to their journeys.
Put God first in everything you do and remember setbacks are learning points so learn from every mistake and pick yourself up no matter what forge on. Never give up.