By Isaac Blessings
Young people are finding ways of making money away from formal employment. Starting a business especially in the fashion industry can be a daunting task given the number of big time retailers who have set shop in Kenya. However there is this one young man who is making inroads in the industry at a very young age.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of Ali Abdi popularly known as Nairobi West Niccur – a 20 year old who supplies Raila Odinga with high end sneakers.
The Business journey
The journey of this 20 year old began while he was still in high school back in 2018. He used to sew the school uniform trousers for his classmates who wanted them to be slimmed so as to look more fashionable and to be able to properly fit them. That’s when he discovered that he had a passion for fashion and got the idea of starting a fashion business after clearing his secondary studies.
After clearing his high school back in 2019, Ali Abdi pitched the business idea to his parents who were at first hesitant since they wanted him to proceed with his studies and find a proper career. He however managed to convince them to just give him a chance and if it doesn’t work then he will humbly go back to school. That’s how he managed to get capital which he used to buy his first stock and opened an online shop. The store became a hit and business was booming which pushed him to start a physical shop three months later.
Starting Thrift Trendy and La beaste brand
The physical shop mainly dealt with selling quality sneakers from big brands such as Nike, Jordan, Puma, Adidas and Air Max. The shoes which are quite popular among the young people were selling at a high volume forcing him to import new stocks after every three months. What propelled the business to become successful is his huge social media influence and followers mostly drawn from young people. After a year of selling kicks and sneakers, he got another idea of starting a private authentic Kenyan clothing brand and that’s how La beaste brand was born. The clothing brand was launched in late 2020 and became quite successful getting support from big musicians such as Khaligraph Jones, Trio Mio and Masterpiece among others.
Meeting the Right Honorable Raila Amolo Odinga
During an interview with the Hot Topic Central show that airs on Jalang’o TV, the 20 year old revealed that he got access to Raila Odinga through his grandchild.
“I used to sell shoes to the grandchild, but I didn’t know that he was the grandchild of Baba. So I was just selling him nice clothes and quality shoes until one day he asked him to deliver the shoes to his home. I took a matatu and headed to Karen then upon reaching the gated community, the grandchild came to pick me up”, Niccur told Jalango TV.
“He then told me that he wants me to meet someone special. I was nervous since I didn’t know who it was and the place was invaded with tight security. We passed three gates and then from a far I saw Raila Odinga, I was so happy. I was privileged to meet him. He is a humble and great person,” Nairobi West Niccur revealed during the interview.
Ali Abdi then sold and gifted him a few shoes and since then he has been constantly supplying the shoes directly to Raila Odinga’s home in Karen. The pictures of him dressing Raila Odinga with sneakers went viral and made him partner with some of the biggest musicians in the country in terms of dressing them in their music videos. He recently got a deal with an international brand – Fashion Nova which made him become the first East Africa’s social media influencer to work with the California-based fashion company. He has grown to become a public figure with over 200,000 followers on the Instagram app.