Meet the Kenyan woman who quit her lucrative insurance job to run a dog breeding business
Her clients range from high-end hotels to embassies as well as several security firms.
But for one Grace Wahome, it is a business that has coined her a name in Kenya's security provision scene and one that has taken her almost two decades to build.
The 42-year-old is the brains behind Skaga Kennels, one of the leading working dog experts in the country.
She started off with two dogs but realised that to fulfil the dream she had, purebreds would have to be imported from abroad.
“We researched a lot and realised the dogs we needed were hard to get locally. We got contacts from different parts of the world and then settled on importing them from Germany,” she said.
However, even after breeding them, Ms. Wahome was unable to get a buyer when the dogs were due for sale.
Luxury for affluent Kenyans
“The clientele base would not easily trust an inexperienced dog breeder, let alone a woman. Since owning a dog at the time was thought of as a luxury for a few affluent Kenyans, I targeted this market and eventually got someone to buy the dogs,” she explained.
Ms Wahome, who was then working full time in the insurance industry, began finding it difficult to balance her full time job and the dog venture.
Infact, her boss once reprimanded her for lateness, and advised her to quit being an employee and follow her dreams.
Ms Wahome left employment on the advice of her boss' words to run the dog business full time.
Even as she sought to purchase dogs from abroad, banks were unwilling to finance the importation seeing that her business was a startup.
Her former boss however believed in her dream and financed her start-up, giving her flexible repayment terms to import her first purebred and build the initial batch of 60 kennels.
Ms Wahome's first big client was G4S whom she partnered with to set up their dog section and a replacement programme for their old dogs.
Skaga Kennels currently has about 40 breeding dogs and more than 250 working dogs.
Among the breeds that Skaga rears are German Shepherds, Rottweiler, Belgian Malinois, Labradors, Springer Spaniels, Bloodhounds and the Intelligent Border Collies.
Her staff has received training from various acclaimed institutions and individuals in South Africa and Croatia.
Keen on quality, the mother of two daughters gets professional international training standards for her dogs and the dog handlers.
She has also invested in good dog breeds and attends international dog shows and events worldwide so as to ensure that she is always on top of her game.
On what is the secret to the success she enjoys today?
“I think where I got it right was in following my passion first."
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