It’s been a while since I came here. Its funny coz this has always been my home. Be it to read or to write – yes I read my own stuff. Sometimes I surprise myself… Initially the blog was a place to let go of my daily turmoil but as times went by, I made it a place to hang out for real whether I am up or down. A lot has happened in the past few months. Where to start, I don’t know.
|Multipurpose chiffon scarf|
Several opportunities have been presenting themselves but this one I couldn’t let go. I needed a business that could incorporate several of my former businesses into a page that was friendly to clients, prospects and spectators as well. I don’t even think I am sure of what I am saying… anyway, for a while I have dealt with ladies items ranging from blouses, & accessories and I had so much faith in any venture to do with ladies. I love business so much that at times I find myself in ventures that are just for the fun of it. Ladies are also ‘good spenders’. I started by selling hair growth enhancement formula some years back. It went well until I was posted out of the city. I then jumped into the second hand clothes business last year. My marketing strategy was a bit off and as much as it gave me some good return, it was very challenging. I did this by referrals and proposing my goods personally to friends and strangers. It also did well considering it was the first time. I then supplemented that income with jewelry & it did well. You can’t sell the same things to one person again and again unless it’s a basic need like food etc. Clothes can be bought again and again but in this scenario, I couldn’t sell to ‘Clare’ for instance today and sell to her again tomorrow and the day after that as well… this is among the greatest lessons I have learnt while selling some of these items. Most are wants… not needs. I needed to work outside the friends circle, unless I start a friend making spree just to sell. I didn’t start the clothes business coz I have a lot of friends who could buy the clothes. I couldn’t sell to them forever and if they bought several times, discounts will be introduced, credit will be introduced and at the end of the day, bad debt will be in the books. I didn’t want to start a business where people are buying to please me… I have experienced that before. Its purpose is to serve, make other people’s life better as I have fun at it.
My obsession with business was for fun sometimes back. But it has reached a point where the seriousness in it had to be upgraded if I wanted to get something solid from it. So far I have dipped my fingers into so many businesses that self introduction to fellow entrepreneurs & friends was becoming a tricky thing… and just to clear the air, business is not necessarily one that is started with lots of money as capital, neither is the talk of clients, stock & orders an automatic success story. Again each entrepreneur has their own parameters of success. Take an example of that first bale of ladies blouses that I purchased… I know of people who sell five bales a day, others sell two and others one a week… Mine took months to clear. Months!!!!! I sold it with the help of a few friends who were open to the idea of entrepreneurship & were seeking opportunities. I wanted to try out this venture with them. Some invested others did not. There are those who brought cash and others brought ideas and information that was used in moving the remaining pieces and obviously there are those who never brought anything at all. It was profitable but it took “too long” to clear. After this one, I learnt that I needed a stronger and more defined marketing network. I also needed to be serious and eliminate the ‘Salary Mentality’ from my mind.
I concentrated on jewelry and it looked promising. The more I dug deeper, the more I got fixated and the more the opportunities arose. Clad, bags, wallets, ladies shoes and accessories started popping. People needed these things, retailers needed customers and I needed some side cash while having fun. Fly.Chee was born. Its two weeks old today.
The first opportunity (Impulse to be frank) came about when just after my end of Semester exams an importer offered bags at fair prices… or what I considered fair prices. It was going down in Mombasa. That very day, a Friday, I borrowed cash from my sis and went down to the coast. What I saw pleased my eyes… I sourced for more funds from a few of my friends and I raised ‘enough’ for my starting stock. In a split moment sense had left & emotion had taken over. I had not analyzed the business as such; I had not even come up with a marketing strategy or an operation plan. I expected no challenges in short…
The first challenge was pretty obvious. I got to Nairobi in the morning on Monday – Rush hour. This was the first real pain. Getting 3 full boxes across the busy Mombasa Road during rush hour was stressful enough for a day. That was not the end. I also needed to get them to my house around Taj Shopping Mall; another challenge. I got a motorbike to get me home, but I had to suspend one of the boxes on my side all the way to the house coz we couldn’t pile all the three boxes on the motorbike. Once in the house I made myself a cup of black coffee and sat back in my makeshift office. I thought of the most appropriate name until I came up with Fly Chee.
I derived Chee from the name of the fastest land mammal, The Cheetah. Cheetah is an Indian word that means the spotted one & I believe from the many ventures I have attempted, the many masks that I sport, to the many things that I do are enough to signify the ‘spots’ in life on my end. Again I considered the qualities of a cheetah that I have and/ or would like to emulate. These are being a challenger who knows when to quit, (Some situations call for this) they like winning outright, they are extremely positive thinkers and always want to succeed. Its curiosity is an admirable trait as well and I believe I am curious so some fair extent. Speed is obvious and a cheetah walks the talk.
On the other hand, Chee is existent in the slang circles as well and it has very many meanings. In this case however, it could be used for emphasis when talking about something good, saying “yeah” (Yes to opportunities that seem viable in my case) and it’s also used in some illegal deeds in this part of the continent. I am not in any illegal biz though.
Fly defines me and my aspiration to fly the big jets. The slang definitions of Fly are also related to Fly Chee as well which includes cool, in style & functioning in an acceptable and realistic way.
I put up the page half way & then as I mentioned earlier, I hadn’t questioned myself regarding the products. I just couldn’t sell bags… Here I decided to revive my jewelry business and incorporate it in the page. I took a small loan on Mshwari (I had borrowed all my friends) & I added that to what I had left & got my first jewelry stock in the new venture. I wanted the page to be colorful as well. I got home and uploaded photos of my new stock in the new venture and business kicked off.
That’s just about how Fly.Chee came about and she is two weeks old today.
The going is tough but we (My dream & I) still keep it strong.