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HomeWealthEmmanuel and Jacqueline: Manager And Waitress Quit Jobs, Now Running Successful Leather...

Emmanuel and Jacqueline: Manager And Waitress Quit Jobs, Now Running Successful Leather Firm

Emmanuel Njoroge and Jacqueline Mutune are the founders of Thonge Leather, a local company making leather wallets, keyholders, handbags and laptop bags.

The duo quit their job to establish their company after coming across a beautifully made traditional sisal basket.

Emmanuel and Jacqueline worked at a popular coffee house chain as manager and hostess respectively, and had no idea of leaving to set up a business.

It was until Jacqueline was gifted the traditional bag in 2020 when they thought of coming up with a company specializing making leather products.

Here is their story as told by WoK.

By the time Emmanuel and Jacqueline thought of establishing their own business, they worked at a local coffee chain house.

In 2020, Jacqueline was gifted a huge kiondo, traditional sisal basket, and it looked good that her colleagues wanted them too.

Since no one knew where the baskets were beings old, he offered to ask around come back with a report.

“We found out that they are made in Kariokor. We went to Kariokor, saw the works, and a business opportunity,” he mentioned in an interview with Business Daily.

Following the discovery, Emmanuel and Jacqueline partnered and they would buy and sell them to their colleagues and friends.

“The first two customers brought others and it became a series of twos and more customers,” he said.

Shortly after, people who bought the viondos came back asking how they could replace the sisal straps of the baskets.

“As we looked around for options, leather stood out. But more than finding an alternative durable material for the straps, we found another business opportunity,” Jacqueline said.

After an extensive research, the two took the bold step and quit their job at the beginning of 2022 to establish Thonge Leather.

“I put our start-up capital at Ksh 1,500. This was how much it cost us to purchase the first two viondos we sold,” Emmanuel said.

They went ahead to approach banks for loans which they used to purchase five machines and set up their leather workshop.

“Each machine cost us Sh120,000. We also use brass as every bag has to have accessories. We also use cotton fabrics, zips, foams, and canvas,” he added.

The duo also opened up on challenges that they experienced soon after getting establishing the company.

“We bought tonnes of leather from tanneries in Thika but then the skilled workers were nowhere to be found so most of the leather spoilt,” Emmanuel said.

Jacqueline added;

“Getting skilled workers in this country is a huge challenge. Very few focus on design or stitches. This forces us to pick interns from schools, train them.”

Emmanuel is in charge of accessories designs while Jacqueline handles marketing and business development.

“I have always loved to design. So I come up with the creative idea and the fundi then brings it to life,” h explained.

While their most-expensive product sells at Ksh 28,000, they serve up to 42 customers per month.

“Most of our clients purchase laptop bags, ladies’ tote handbags, travel bags, card holders, and passport holders. We create everything using leather. When a client comes with an idea, we bring it to life,” Emmanuel said.