Growing up in a stable family with loving parents is a blessing that many people have experienced. Having a parent to mould you from childhood to become a productive person in society is an even bigger blessing.
For Caroline Wanjiku, her late mother was all this and more. She helped her become the woman she is today, handling many businesses at only 22 years old after her mother’s passing.
WoK sat down with Wanjiku as she narrates her story of triumph, overcoming grief and loss, and how she is working everyday to keep her mother’s legacy alive.
Who is Caroline and what does she do?
My name is Caroline Wanjiku Mwangi. I am a journalist by profession and a business lady as well.
You mentioned that you are a journalist. Where do you work?
I work at a TV station called Kiheo TV. It is a vernacular TV station located at Jewel Complex in Roysambu. Kiheo means Gift in the Kikuyu language. The founder was my late mum, Mercy Waciama. It was started in 2020 with the main aim of glorifying God. We are currently on Signet and all free to air channels. The station is under the umbrella of Mwangaza Inspirational Media.
Tell us a bit about your life and your relationship with your late mother
I have had a great support system throughout my life, especially my late mother. She guided me through my career, as she was also a journalist.
Working with my mother was a dream come true. She never gave anyone the opportunity to perform badly at work or at home. She was always on top of things, and she made sure that everyone under her wing did the same.
I remember one time when she suspended me from my duties after I failed to fulfil some assignments. That is how serious she was about good performance. All this has made me the woman I am today in terms of discipline and good performance.
You speak very highly of your mother. Tell us about how you have been able to hold on since her passing.
My mom’s passing was unexpected. When it happened, it was a shock for me and my siblings. When she went to be with the Lord, she left a big gap that I have tried to fill since then. They are big shoes to fill, but I thank God for the strength to hold on.
Did you feel the pressure to be like your mom after her passing?
I really felt the pressure to keep the wheels of her businesses turning. With a team of about 20 people to manage, it was definitely not an easy task. Stepping in as a mother for my younger siblings was also tough, but through the grace of God I was able to overcome.
Fortunately, the values that my mother instilled in me when I was younger have helped me to be able to manage the pressure that comes with these responsibility. My mom taught me to never give up and she always motivated to try everything to make things work.
You are also an entrepreneur. Talk to us about that.
My business is called Fabulous Fines by Wanjiku. I mainly sell shoes online, especially on social media. My motivation behind starting the business was my desire to have multiple sources of income. I r when remember when I started, I spent all my salary to source shoes from Uganda. That is how I started my online shoe business.
How has the online space been for your business?
Since my business is purely online, I have been able to reach a very big audience. I have also been able to create awareness around the business. For people who are not able to rent a physical shop, online is the way to go.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered in your online business?
Like any other business, challenges are always there, but what sets you apart is your ability to be consistent and not give up. I pride myself in the fact that I am consistent and tolerant in the business. That is how I am able to keep my business afloat.
Your mom had multiple businesses. What are some of the challenges you have faced after inheriting them?
My mother had a few businesses she left behind. I wanted to involve my siblings in the handling of the businesses. My father and my sisters have been a pillar of strength for me. I wanted to give up so many times, but involving them and asking for help has really helped me to keep my head up. I have made a few mistakes that I have learned from, and that is how I have been able to keep my mom’s memory alive.
What keeps you going?
What keeps me going is the memory of my mother in action. She was always on top of things even when she was unwell. Knowing that I had a person who did everything for me keeps me going. What also keeps me going is the fact that my sisters are looking up to me.
If you were not a journalist or an entrepreneur what would you be doing?
I would have done something in communications or public relations. I also have an interest in real estate, so I think I would be doing that if I was not in the media.
What is your message to the youth?
Always remember that tomorrow is not guaranteed. Live one day at a time and live life like there is no tomorrow. Chase your dreams and try things out because you have nothing to lose by trying. Also always put God first in all that you do.