Lyte Chepkemboi is the founder and managing director of Lyte The Brand, an online shop that deals with quality affordable ex-UK loungewear, pyjamas, house shoes, and fleece blankets.
I started my business with Sh1500 in 2020. I went to Gikomba market and bought third-rate camera clothes. These are the pieces that are left behind by the people who have picked the first choice mitumba clothes. First camera clothes were too pricey. I went back to the market and bought a second batch. I kept doing this and by February this year, I had built up a capital base of Sh20,000. This money was enough to buy me a full bale.
In my mitumba business, I have learned that there is power in writing what you want to achieve down. This is what I used to do. I would write down my profit targets for any of the clothes. These targets were aimed at getting me to my first bale. Don’t expect that once you start a business venture, it will break even immediately.
One of the biggest mistakes I made when my business started performing well was to use the business money for my personal needs. This made me look for capital multiple times. I was only able to overcome this habit after attending a basic financial management class. Every business owner should pay themselves a salary at the end of the month. If you’re in business, it’s important to regularly enroll for financial management classes so that you learn more on how to manage your operating capital and income streams. If I could go back in time, I would enroll for bookkeeping classes, register my business, and open a business account.
I save my money in different saving vehicles depending on the goals I have. I am currently on the Money Market Fund and I love the experience so far. I used to save through the bank and the interest at the end of the day was too low. I also save through investments such as shares.
My aim is to have ‘Made in Kenya’ merchandise in my stock. Once the economy stabilises, I will also consider opening physical stores. However, I am thrilled at the e-commerce opportunities that have emerged since Covid.
I currently open bales from home. I order them and they’re delivered at my doorstep. I don’t have to go to the market to pick pieces as I used to do when I started. There is a challenge to this mode of business. There are times when I have opened a bale expecting one thing only to get the exact opposite. The joke that you can purchase a bale only to find it stacked up with Japanese flags nobody wants is not a joke. It is something that actually happens in the market.