By Prudence Minayo
The idea of starting and running a successful business in Kenya with Sh4,800 seems far-fetched and impractical. This is not until you meet Anzazi Kiti who started with an idea, refined it and birthed Taste Afrique, a company that manufactures, distributes and sells natural food seasoning products. Under the brand name Chibundiro, the product has come a long way and now retails in all major supermarkets in Kenya.
Here is the entrepreneurial journey of Anzazi as told by WoK.
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Where it Started
As a young girl, she enjoyed seeing her mom’s artistry in the kitchen. She loved seeing how different flavors could be mixed to make a delicious meal. Anzazi Kiti went to boarding school in the Coastal area. She missed her mothers cooking and upon going back home, she created a seasoning mix from natural ingredients in their kitchen.
She carried the spices to school and later began making them for her sister who was also boarding. Her sister’s friends would also ask for some. The only problem was that the shelf life was short and couldn’t last the whole term.
Coming up with a brand
When she joined Kenyatta university, she continued experimenting with the spices and learnt how to increase their shelf life. The unique name for her spices was inspired by both Swahili and her native language. The name Chibundiro is derived from bunda in Swahili which means grinding.
In her Chonyi tribe, the brand name means a mortar and pestle used when grinding foods. During her final year on campus, she took part in a project by KU and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) that financed scalable business ideas. “So I gave the mkaango idea to our group, we showcased and got the financing,” she told Business Daily.
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She used the Kshs4,800 from the project to buy raw materials, packaging material and went on to sell around 300 pieces for Ksh120 each.
After graduating with a BA in Economics and Finance from KU, she worked for Deloitte East Africa as a forensic auditor and Ernst and Young as a senior risk and forensic consultant. During her free time, she would make the spices and sell them to her colleagues. They loved it and she would get more clients through word of mouth.
She officially registered Taste Afrique and Chibundiro in 2014 and got the necessary certifications. The entrepreneur processed the vegetables and spices in her kitchen while she was still employed.
Quitting and focusing on Chibundiro
In 2016, she participated in a competition dubbed youths for agribusiness. She was among the winners of the US$2000 cash prize which she invested into the business. She quit her day job to fully focus on growing her brand.
When she was leaving her job, her company was making about 40 jars weekly. According to a piece by how we made it in Africa, their annual turnover at the time was about US$9,000.
They then began advertising the business on a budget. They would use telephones, friends, social media and knock on doors. It was not easy to convince people to buy but after experiencing it, most would go back for more. Getting supermarkets to stock their products was no easy feat. They had to try again and again.
According to an article that appeared on Business Daily on 17th August 2020, the business had a monthly turnover of Sh1 million. Like most businesses, they were also affected by the pandemic as most retailers were unwilling to stock. They sailed through and their products are now stocked by giant retailers like Quickmart, Naivas, Chandarana, Eastmatt, Woolmart in Nakuru and online platforms like Amazon. Their Facebook page, Siri ni Chibundiro has over 4000 followers.
Anzazi Kiti co-owns the business with her sisters Winnie Chiwai and Gift Kiti.