By Prudence Minayo
Easter Kojwang is the founder of Eastnat, a business she started in August 2015 after being jobless for months. She had moved to Nairobi from Eldoret and got employed by two companies in a period of four months. She quit her first job and realized employment was not for her when she took up another job. She started her business with Sh9,000 as capital and it has grown to be a big enterprise that delivers honey worth millions of shillings to various businesses.
Here is her story as told by WoK.
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Education and Business while in School
Easter had always been business oriented. She sold smokies while she was still in campus. The businesswoman pursued Tourism and Hospitality Management at Moi University. She would sell smokies in the evening and managed to make at least Sh1000 a day. The entrepreneur expanded her business by getting a place closer to the lecture halls where she began selling juice, smokies, smokie dogs, pilau, chapati and the likes. Her customers were her fellow students and lecturers.
Opening Savannah Foods
After campus, she opened a small eatery called Savannah where she continued to sell food. However, her food was considered a bit pricey by some who preferred to buy from the street vendors. Within a short period, her business came tumbling down. This forced her to close shop and move to Nairobi before going to stay with her grandmother in the village.
Starting a peanut butter business and founding Eastnat
While in the village, she was sent to harvest peanuts and this is where the idea to start a peanut butter business was conceived. During this time, she had depleted her savings and was left with only Sh9,000.
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Easter Kojwang knew how to make peanut butter but had never made it in large scale before. This did not deter her and soon she made the product and took it to Nairobi. She marketed it in Operation Loose Pot Belly, a Facebook group she was a member of. The products sold out within a short time-encouraging her to make more.
Customers then began to ask if she was selling anything else, like honey and she remembered her dream in campus had been to sell honey. It was inspired when she once bought five litres of honey from a farmer. All her friends wanted it and when she ran out, she couldn’t find the farmer again. She looked for him without success and she realized that honey was a very marketable product.
During one of her peanut butter deliveries, she met vendor selling honey and bought ten kilograms. The person was a stranger yet she was given the honey on credit. Within two days, she sold all of it and went back for 30 kg which sold out in a week. That was how she kept on expanding and today she supplies thousands to both individuals and institutions. It took her a year’s worth of sales to save enough money for a good location. During the year, she just hawked her products in different places and sometimes she would meet people at chicken inn to give them products.
The company has grown to include other products apart from honey and peanut butter. They sell a variety of whole foods including sea moss, propolis, charcoal mask and activated charcoal. She believes her business is a one stop shop for healthy foods. In a previous YouTube interview with Ken’s Money Matters, she revealed that they had products to help with skin, digestive, joint, hormonal issues and to boost immunity.
By the time of the interview, she had delivered orders worth a little over Sh2 million to particular institutions. Her very first big order was worth Sh1.2 million and at the time she had never delivered that much honey. This did not prevent her from rising to the occasion.
Easter Kojwang is working to grow her brand to a point where she has shops across the capital and can be found in leading retailers.
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