By Prudence Minayo
When Njeri Muchina lost her sign interpretation job at Mediamax, she thought all was lost. Prior to the loss of her job, she had been forced to close her wines and spirits business in Kiambu due to a lot of back and forth with the police officers. She then decided to fully concentrate on her job and had even started doing voice overs for Kameme FM. Little did she know that within a day of closing her business, she would lose her job. For months, she was on a downward spiral, feeling pity for herself and unable to secure another job. She lost friends, read the bible, drank a lot and fell into depression.
Here is her story as told by WoK.
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Moving to Meru
A friend told her of a business opportunity in Meru. She took her kids to her mother and moved to Meru. Upon arrival, she realized it was an insurance brokerage job. She got it but during training, the highest performing member told her she received only Sh10,000 the previous month. When Njeri heard about this, she knew it was not the job for her and she was not good at marketing anyway. She left the training mid session convinced it was not her cup of tea.
Njeri boarded a bus to a small town in Meru called Makutano. She had already come up with the idea of cleaning people’s shops at Sh50 each. The first shop owner she approached thought she must be a con. She had a dress, stilettos and did not meet the profile of a cleaner. Njeri Muchina also convinced the second shop owner not to give her a listening ear. She proceeded to a cyber where as she was in the middle of pitching the idea, she received a call.
It was from her child’s teacher saying they needed Sh500 for graduation. She broke down and the woman at the cyber gave her the job. As she took off her shoes to clean, a curious man who had an animal feeds shop nearby approached. She explained her situation but the man said he didn’t clean the shop with water, he just swept it. However, Kimathi asked for her number and promised to connect her to clients.
A New Dawn
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The next day, he called and asked to meet up. She found him with a group of women who were looking at her curiously but nonetheless chose to give her the job. They asked how much she charged and Kimathi answered Sh100 on her behalf. They gave her four shops and she made Sh400. A woman named Ruth asked if she could also clean a house. She said yes and they rode to her home. Njeri proceeded to do an amazing job within three hours. The woman was even confused on what to pay her.
They would pay cleaning women Sh300 but she had done a marvellous job. The woman ended up paying her Sh1500 and referred her to others. Within no time, she was fully booked and even had to employ another person. Njeri Muchina had advised her not to charge less than Sh1000. She trained the woman on the standards she wanted. She named her company Klean Team before changing the name officially to Max Hub.
2019 became a breakthrough year. They won a tender to clean a hospital and she bought a laundry machine and a car. They could now wash clients laundry using machines and deliver them in branded bags. The company also got work at Mwitu Center, where they were tasked with managing the public area, which has a supermarket, prime offices and public toilets.
Two years ago, the company bagged the International Women’s Day grant for creating employment opportunities for women. In an interview with Capital FM, she said that while she wants to grow and spread her footprint to other areas, she wants to make sure that she establishes strong roots in Meru first. She also wishes to give back by teaching women high quality cleaning standards.
Along the way, she has encountered some challenges among them people’s attitude towards cleaners. One day, a woman paid her Sh400 for a job yet she knew Njeri charged Sh1000. The woman felt cleaners shouldn’t be paid that much. Some men also find it hard to take their job seriously. The challenges, however, do not stop her from pursuing her dream. The University of Nairobi graduate advises people not to just sit and do pity parties for long. They should rise up and do something even jobs not considered good enough for graduates.