Motivated by her creative design skills, Sharon Zarita founded Suza Crafts World (SCW), after completing her university education.
Zarita, who studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Nairobi, also plans to launch gift services this year.
The Nairobi-based crafts and design company mainly makes wedding cards.
“I secured a job as a writer for a fashion and lifestyle website. I thought this was my dream job, but I was not finding the satisfaction I needed. I decided to quit the job even before my one-week probation elapsed,” she says.
Ms Zarita had been designing cards as a hobby, but decided to turn it into a business venture after she quit the job. She settled on wedding cards.
“I wanted to be part of the people who take part in the starting of a new family,” she says.
The 23-year-old journalism graduate says broken families fuel vices such as corruption, immorality and drug abuse, which are rampant in the society.
“I believe that if families were stable many of these social ills would be eradicated. What better way could it be than by pouring out my skills with passion into customising wedding invites?” she posed.
Ms Zarita, who was born in Kakamega, says she raised about Sh35,000 from friends that helped her set up the business with Sh84,500 as capital.
The creative designer says she made partial payments for the office space and started operations without furniture.
“I made my first order while sitting on the floor. I chose to prioritise my needs and that means after I secured the office space, other things such as furniture could wait,” Ms Zarita said.
She sells a card at between Sh120 and Sh250, depending on its make and design. She attends to about 10 clients a month.
The company started operating last May and her clients include individuals planning for their wedding and institutions such as churches.
In a good month she earns about Sh50,000 to Sh70,000, depending on the kind of clients she serves and the design of cards they choose.
“It is difficult to build a brand from scratch. It requires a lot of sacrifice, long hours, patience and a positive attitude.”
“Sometimes the long process of establishing a brand is discouraging but one should learn to always focus on the dream.
“If I am not where I wanted to be, I am not where I was two months ago. And if you keep up the consistency, this dream keeps shaping itself up to the eventual castle you had built in the air,” she says.
The use of social media such as Facebook and Instagram has enabled Suza Crafts World reach customers from across the country.
Ms Zarita says it takes about a week or two to complete the wedding cards because they have to be distributed within another week or two.
“Most clients come a month to their weddings or even earlier. But sometimes I get those with short notices. I sacrifice my time to ensure all of them are well attended to,” she adds. “I am also looking forward to stocking in leading stationery or gift stores across the country.
“Currently, I display greeting cards at Gifted Hands on Kimathi Street in Nairobi.”
She says everyone has potential to make it in life irrespective of the grades they got in school.
“Stop limiting your hobbies to things you do to have fun in. Think of how you can make them make money for you.
“It does not matter how minute that skill may be, look for a way to make a coin out of it.
“And once you do, be patient in the process of its growth. Because if you do things with all your heart, you will always get maximum results,” she adds.