By 32-year-old Phyllis Wanja Kimani.
Tailoring was my main occupation for five years, but I recently diversified into maize roasting to boost my income.
I ventured into roasting maize when tailoring started getting too much competition from boutiques selling ready-made outfits at a fraction of the cost to the custom orders I dealt with.
It also did not help that some school administrators in my location were cutting deals with traders and directing parents to specific shops for branded school uniforms. Uniforms used to be one of my main business lines.
These challenges forced me to think beyond tailoring to earn that extra coin.
Since I don’t have many orders these days, I use my mornings to handle any tailoring jobs, and set aside my evenings, from 4pm, for the maize roasting business, which I do by the roadside.
It’s difficult balancing the two businesses.
I also have to deal with copycats who, on seeing my success with maize, started a similar business.
And when it comes to tailoring, a lot of orders are not picked on time, which delays payment – and there are also those customers who default completely.
Dealing with county council officials is another challenge, as is operating out in the open when the weather is unpredictable.
Still, maize roasting is what generates the more consistent income for me, and in a good day, I’ll make up to Sh2,000.