Mutugi Kirema is his name. Hashtag Nation is his baby.
He initially sold t shirts. T shirts that really got people going. That is until he realized that he really could do it big. And so began the first step. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line a major setback served but to discourage his efforts. He gave up. But not for long, he would come back again, and this time it would be for good. He caught his big break when the Daystar Duolos team approached him with an order of orientation week t shirts.
He knew what he wanted, but the capital was amiss. But being business minded, he outsourced funds from among his friends. These funds were what formed the basis of the whole enterprise, the foundation on which the entire clothing line would flourish. This is what prompts him to emphasize that capital availability is a big determinant in the start of any business.
20 sweatshirts marked his first sale, and it all went uphill from there. The sole name served as a major publicity factor around the Daystar Athi River Campus. The target market had been set; university students, the niche’ realized. The customer would be able to have writing unique to their person on their sweatshirt. Quite the catch. And they came like manna falling from the skies.
Back up plans. Have back up plans. He has one. Well, more like a corporate back up. Current CEO of Lucra global limited, under whose umbrella he also has Lucra interior designs and Lucra general supplies. These two deal with interior décor of houses and offices as well as dealing with major golf tournaments respectively.
Mutugi’s work was cut out for him when it came to publicity as well as sales. He would go on to spend sometime around the campus showcasing his clothing as well as signing up customer orders in the process. Orders were made. Everyone was seen rocking the sweatshirt all around the campus. The clothing line was a hit. You had to have it. All the same, all this would not have worked out quite like it did without his parents’ support, both financially and otherwise.
Kirema insists that parental support is key in a student entrepreneur’s endeavors. His parents remain to be his biggest support system not only in his studies, but also in his business.
However, like any other businesses, he also had to deal with disappointments. Customers would readily pay the deposit for their sweatshirt, but as soon as they receive their finished product, they delay the remaining payment. Others have even gone to the extent of deferring payment entirely. Also, he cites instances where his tailor has let him down in terms of keeping time, making him disadvantaged when it comes to delivery of the merchandise.
10 months down the line and counting, the young entrepreneur has broadened his target markets into other universities such as Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) and United States International University (USIU); the latter currently holding up as his biggest market yet. His services have also recently expanded into sweatpants, t shirts and hoodies. But that is not all, he currently has a new idea under his belt, something that is no doubt going to hit the market with a loud bang.
Of all notable achievements, Mutugi singles out serving as a motivation to his friends as a success. He has been able to push them into starting their own businesses as well as provide insight as per his experiences. He is presently looking to penetrate available markets in universities located in other towns in Kenya within the next 2 months as well as expansion of his branding to other merchandise such as umbrellas, flash disks, back packs, caps, etc. Now inasmuch as he may not have dominated the market as yet, the budding CEO is well on his way.