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Student Starts Her Own Business In Response To The Pandemic

An undergraduate gets creative amid shrinking job opportunites and COVID-19 closures

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Francis Kamau
Francis Kamau
Graduate class of 2019, Dr B.A.M University B.A international Journalism With First class honours

KENYA. Nairobi: According to Trading Economics, Kenya’s unemployment rate rose to 10.4% in the second quarter of this year, which is a sharp increase from 5.2% in the first quarter. Sadly, there are fewer jobs available. However, a young girl has walked down the path of entrepreneurship amidst these unfortunate events.

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She´s an example of innovation and adaptation to the current situation. The young undergraduate spoke to Transcontinental Times about how she was able to create a business with her bare hands.

The journey to entrepreneurship

COVID-19 hit the country hard and what followed was the closure of many businesses. Schools also closed until further notice. Though despite doors slamming shut, Sarah Kiarie saw an opportunity. School closures meant more free time for her. From that moment, she knew she had to take full advantage of the situation. “One morning, I was going to wear my clothes and I got curious about how these clothes were made. That was the birth of everything,” she said.

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Her curiosity led to watching YouTube tutorials. Luckily, she learned how to sew within weeks. Eventually, Kiarie realized this was her passion.

Creating opportunities

According to digital4africa.com, a record 15% of the population is active on social media. These are encouraging numbers for a business startup. “I realized that social media boosts a lot of people, so why not post my work? I took nice pictures of my works, then posted all over my social media handles,” Kiarie explained.

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She received positive responses and after a number of social media interactions, she got her first client. The client wanted a specific dress design made. This helped Kiarie identify her business model. She would create custom order clothing.

Kiarie has been able to get feedback from a variety of clients, which is important for her business growth. “Ask any person if they know who made their clothes and you will realize that few even bother about that. Definitely, I think my business thrives on the idea that you can actually know who made the specific clothing you are wearing,’’ she shared.

Secrets of her success

Kiarie credits the success of her startup to optimism. She insists that mindset played a huge role in her thriving business. “The age where youths wait on opportunities is over. The better way is to create your own opportunity,” she said. Kiarie also employs two of her younger sisters when the volume of client orders becomes demanding.

“Soon, I will create a platform for natural born designers. Undeniably, this is about making a difference against all odds,” she concluded.

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