Esther Wangari Macharia is the founder and CEO of Wonderland Wear, a business that stocks shapewear and skincare products.
The 27-year-old, who holds a Bachelors degree in Broadcast Journalism from Multimedia University, started the business in 2016 and it is still growing.
Wangari shares her entrepreneurial journey with Sunday Nation.
“I am the second born in a family of four siblings. My parents are farmers and run an auto spares business. I grew up in Uplands, Kiambu County, and would help out with the family business before joining university.
After high school, I joined Multimedia University of Kenya, where I pursued a degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2015. Having done an internship with a production house, they offered me a job after graduation. I learnt various skills in editing and video production. I would earn Sh1,000 per project, which was very little. I was also to earn transport allowance, which was not forthcoming though.
Later, I got a good offer from Sayari Photography to become an editor and videographer mainly for corporate events and weddings. The pay was Sh5,000 per project, which was better. I worked with them for six months but the owner decided to mainly focus on photography and handed over all videography jobs and editing. I started working on my own and I would get job referrals from most customers.
To date, I still do photography, videography and editing as a part-time job and I appreciate the broad exposure that comes with it. My venture into business wasn’t something I had foreseen and it happened in an unexpected manner.
I remember buying a few spanks and shapewear from my beautician, you know how ladies love impulse buying? I was a size 6/8 UK by then. I didn’t need the shapewear at that time so I decided to post them online. I had never used them. I sold them all on the ‘Kilimani marketplace’ Facebook page. I talked to a friend to take me to Gikomba market and source some bras, spanks, and waist trainers, that’s how Wonderland Wear was born.
I would use a friend’s office space as my storage and do deliveries throughout the day. In a few months, the demand was high that I was overwhelmed. In January 2017, I decided to get a shop in town to be able to attend to all clients and get a rider to do deliveries. The business was thriving and expanding as I learnt about different shapewear and new amazing products that customers would enquire about.
They included butt and hips enhancers, maternity bras and girdles, lingerie sets, latex waist trainers and many more. Throughout the business, I also decided to add new shapewear to cater to a wide range of customers.
In 2020 after Covid-19 hit hard, my business was affected. Sales went down and I had to figure out a way around it. I decided to incorporate beauty and skincare products to complement the shapewear.
This was ideal timing as many people were now working from home and would consult about the best way to take care of their skin. I also added supplements like collagen and vitamins that are highly recommended for glowing and healthy skin. It’s been an incredible experience as I learn along the way.
Wonderland Wear has grown. Our Facebook page is Wonderland Wear and on Instagram wonderlandwear_ke. Our physical store is at Cubes exhibition on Moi Avenue. We deliver to our customers across the country and in East Africa through reliable courier services.
My joy is to help a fellow woman look good, confident and have high esteem. My long-term plan is to have a wholesale and retail entity. My friends and family have been very supportive along the way. My parents were a bit skeptical but they now support me.
To the youth, attitude is vital in what you do. Ensure that you know the current trends in what you do.”