What’s your passion and what are you doing with it? In the Kenya we are living in today, finding a job or succeeding in business seems to be getting harder every day. But if you could come up with a way to make money out of your passion, then you are good to go.
A jobless Morine Aringo had just lost her job and feared that she might soon starve to death if she didn’t get another opportunity. Out of this fear and her passion for fashion, Hando Afrikan Designs was born.
“I had a passion since I was young. My mother loved making African outfits and made us believe that they are special. So, I grew up with that love for fashion.” Morine tells Pulse Live.
Initially, Morine didn’t know what to do with her creativity. She would draw the designs and just take them to tailors who would only use them for their own good. But when life kept pushing her into a corner, she knew it was time to make the broad move and start something, albeit small.
The business was hard when starting
With the little savings she had from her previous job, she got a small space, one sewing machine, a tailor and a few other things just to get started. All she knew was that she had to keep on moving.
“I'm very shy and fashion had a way of talking for me without necessarily having to speak. The business was hard and I didn't know much about it. I just loved clothes. Putting things together, marketing, everything was new so it was a little bit hard but I learnt through it” she tells us.
Despite the tough start, Morine who describes her designs as easy, stylish, and, comfortable tells us that things started to make sense a few months later.
“It wasn't easy, I didn't know how to even convince someone into buying clothes. So, I'd make sketches and use them to convince customers. The first three months were the hardest then everything started to make sense. By the sixth month, I was making enough money to even save.” the stylist goes on to tell this writer.
Over the years, Hando Designs has grown from the little shop with one tailor it was to a bigger one with an exhibition shop and then winning an award in 2019.
“My biggest achievement was when I won the Creative Industry Award from Women in Business last year. I still haven't gotten over it!” an excited Morine reminisces.
Now with seven employees, they are able to ensure that their clients’ demands are met in time. They have also dressed renowned celebrities such as Willis Raburu, Akothee, Kambua, Betty Kyallo, Muthoni the Drama Queen and Obinna.
When she began, Morine would only make around Ksh 5,000 – 10,000 after paying her bills. As per today, her business earns her up to Ksh 100,000 a month.
Challenges in the fashion industry
Morine admits that there are challenges in the fashion industry since it keeps on evolving every day and one has to keep up with the trends. In spite of that, nothing will stop her from doing what she loves. Although she still has an 8-5 job, Morine swears she would drop anything for her company if need be.
Her words to anyone struggling in business? “Do something, just start where you are with what you have. Do not quit! Mind your business so hard until it starts minding you back”
To market her designs, she relies highly on her social media pages and referrals from people she has styled before. Depending on the fabric and how complicated the design is, prices vary but she tells us that you can get a design from Ksh 2, 500.