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Musau Mwania: The 37 Year Old Competing With Established Brands By Manufacturing Kenyan Made Smart Watches

A Kenyan entrepreneur, Musau Mwania has taken on established multinational brands by designing affordable smart watches which are slowly becoming a favorite among Kenyans. Mwania is the brains behind Natra Smart Technology, a firm that manufactures smart watches and other phone accessories.

Here is the story of the 37 year old as told by WoK.

Breaking away from family business 

Mwania’s parents owned a computer and electronics shop which he would assist in daily operations. After completing his studies, he built on his business nous by being like a cog in the wheel of the family’s shop. He was so passionate about business that he enrolled for a short accountancy short course. Thereafter, Mwania matriculated at United States International University (USIU) for a Bachelor’s in International Business Administration.

I did not have any interest in formal employment, instead, I chose to focus more on strengthening my business competence. I therefore enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration at the United States International University,” he told Nation.Africa.

In 2018, he broke away from the family’s business in order to run his own enterprise. He incepted a firm that dealt with office supplies and consumables.

Natra Smart Technology

At one point, Mwania recalls that he suffered insomnia, a matter that necessitated him to purchase a smart watch in order to keep track of his sleeping patterns. He therefore browsed online and bought 8 watches; he was to retain one and sell the rest. However, he ended up selling all the watches and made a profit of ksh 3000 on each.

However, he realised that the watches were not very affordable despite the high demand in the market. He had made connections with various traders when working on his family’s shop and decided to look for channels to cheaper products.

I had made a few connections with traders in China. I contacted them and they were able to connect me with a smart watch manufacturer who was selling more affordable products,” he says.

As a go-getter, he went ahead and bought 30 watches for children and another 40 for adults which were cleared off the shelves within a short period.However, Mwania had the idea of bringing into the market products which had his own value addition inputs. He therefore registered Natra Smart Technology and acquired patent rights from Kenya Industrial Property Institute for watches designed by him. He looked for a design company called Birch which designed Natra’s logo and also came up with customised designs for the smart watches.

Ksh 800k loan 

Mwania’s capital into this innovative  venture was a colossal amount as he had to import the watches before designing and packaging them. With a ksh 800000 loan, savings and friends contributions, he began with 750 watches. He also invested heavily in online marketing which saw them part with ksh 10000 monthly for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which enabled the visibility of their website. Being a Formula 1 fanatic, Mwania named the watches after various circuits.

According to Natra’s website (mynatra.shop), the Silverstone smart watch which retails for ksh 3299 offers a wide variety of functions such as measuring the blood pressure, SPO2 and pulse rate. The watch also sends SMS push notifications and information reminders. The Monaco model which retails for ksh 8999 has additional features like water resistance and GPS.

Under Mwania’s captaincy, the business has faced a number of challenges with competition being one of them. However, Mwania says they ensure their products are of high quality, affordable and offer a warranty. To stay ahead of the curve which has giant multinationals, Natra has partnered with a nutrition consultant who offers lifestyle tips to his clientele. And with the distrust to online shopping in Kenya, Natra acquired a shop at Digital Mall along Moi Avenue. In future, Natra Smart Technology plans to introduce more models and build a mobile application for its customers.