By Prudence Minayo
Nancy Gwaro Nyambane is the director of Miale Furniture. She tried her hands in different jobs although her passion for interior design persisted till it paid off.
Before getting deep into interior design, she worked in different fields. First, she hawked fresh juice then worked as data entry clerk at Steadman Group, now Ipsos Synovate. She also had a stint at Securicor Security Services Kenya Limited (now G4S).
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Even while trying her hands in all these different jobs, she had a Masters in Commerce and Business from India.
Here is her entrepreneurship journey as told by WoK.
Interior Design Interest
During all this time, she had an inner desire to invest in living space. Back at her house, she would change furniture positions and paint different colors on the walls. Her husband supported her and told her to go for her dreams. Hence, between 2008 and 2009, she took an online course in interior design. She began painting houses for people, arranging houses and designing exteriors.
“My husband advised me to follow my passion. I started painting houses and helping people re-arrange their houses and landscape exteriors,” she told DN
Venturing into Furniture
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During her forays in different homes, she discovered that the quality of furniture was very poor, even in high end houses. This motivated her to get into the furniture business. She got Sh100,000 from a support group and Sh3 million from her husband. Using the money, she began setting up her furniture business.
From a list of names, they settled on Miale Furniture. She rented a godown in the Industrial area and paid Sh130,000 as rent for three months. This was followed by the purchase of woodwork machines that went for Sh760,000.
The money was getting spent faster than she had imagined. It was also difficult to get reliable and professional carpenters. She settled on two sanding personnel and three carpenters along Ngong Road. The employee helped her get raw materials.
“It was an expensive affair. A small lorry of timber half full would cost Sh150,000,” she told the Daily Nation.
Sub-letting The Godown
A month into business, in May 2012, she decided to sublet the godown and advertise in the newspapers. A friend also introduced her to an exhibition. She paid Sh30,000 for an expo and didn’t look back since it was a great marketing tool.
She paid Sh63,000 to attend another exhibition at the Kenya Homes Expo. At the time, she displayed a number of furniture including double decker beds, display unit, dining table and console. At the end of it, she had made Sh305,000 from the sale of some of the items. This expo opened them up to a world of more opportunities. Customers booked them wanting custom made furniture which boosted their sales greatly.
By 2015, the company employed more than twenty people and on a bad month made Sh300,000. A good month at the time would see them making Sh1 million. Today, the company is 10 years old and still growing strong. They make window frames, door frames, dining table sets, sofa sets, coffee tables, office desks and offer interior deco among other things.
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