Wambui Mwangi is the founder of The Butty Box, a healthy beverage manufacturing company in Nanyuki, Laikipia County.
The 33-year holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Information Technology (IT) from Maseno University.
She shared her career path journey with the Sunday Nation.
Tell us about your childhood and family life.
I am the first born among three siblings. I have a brother and a sister. I grew up in Umoja estate, Nairobi county. I first left home for boarding school at the age of 15. This helped me develop a sense of independence that I possess to this very day.
Your educational background?
I attended Unity Primary School in the neighbourhood for my primary education. I then joined Pangani Girls High School for my high school education. I later transitioned to Maseno University where I studied Political Science and IT.
Share with us your career journey.
My first job after I graduated from university was as a programmes officer at KENWA, an NGO for women’s empowerment. After a year I started running a private camp in Nakuru. It was an exciting yet very challenging experience for me. From there I moved to Nanyuki in 2017 and opened my own bar and restaurant. I closed down the business after two years due to the tough economy situation back then. But that experience paved the way for my current business venture of natural healthy beverages.
What does your current job entail?
I’m the founder and director of The Butty Box, a beverage manufacturing company based in Nanyuki. We produce natural soft drinks. We currently have two product lines. First is water Kefir, a healthy probiotic low sugar drink which comes in lemon ginger, pineapple mint and passion flavours. The other product is our purple iced teas which come in passion, pineapple and mango flavours. My job involves doing a lot of emails, deliveries and orders of materials.
What do you remember most about your career journey?
The long hours one needs to put in to be successful. You are always moving, evolving, meeting the needs of your clientele. In all honesty, the failures I endured were actually the building blocks of who I am today. I’ve learned mistakes are beneficial when tackled properly.
How has been your career progression over the years?
I’ve gone from being an employee to an employer, going from expecting a cheque to signing them. Progress is still an everyday experience for me. I am constantly learning through online courses, networking, joining business associations and meeting women from all kinds of backgrounds and walking the journey together, so to speak.
What has been the key driver to your career growth?
I have learnt not to accept failure, but to learn from it. I’m also self-motivated and passionate about the choices I take. I want a better life for those surrounding me. I really can’t mention a highlight moment of my career because I don’t think I have reached my full potential yet. However, seeing the confidence I build in my staff and guiding them to making decisions without questions has been extremely satisfying. As for failure, I suppose having to close the bar and restaurant business was somewhat painful. In retrospect, that was brought upon by myself because of not researching diligently into the business.
Who do you credit for your career growth and development?
My husband and business partner has been my biggest support system in career thus far. He has withstood my late nights and early mornings and helped me through the early rocky times. He pushes me, promotes me and does things that I’m still learning. He always ready to point out different views on ideas. He’s also been my delivery guy on some occasions.
Key decisions you might have taken along your career?
The biggest decision I made was taking on the challenge of running the campsite. Some friends of mine suggested the idea and I took up the challenge. This helped transform me into the woman I am today. I like being the boss.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell myself not to be shy, be more aggressive, speak up, get heard, stand by your decisions, be a risk taker, learn from mistakes, keep learning… perfection doesn’t just happen.
What would you advise the youth in Kenya and Africa today?
Get out there and make things happen for yourselves. Take the bull by the horns before it gets you. Now is your time, get out there and conquer life.
Your future plans?
My dream is to see my products in every supermarket, every gas station, small markets in Kenya and East Africa then venture further into the Africa market in due course.