Norah Muendo is the proprietor of Nila Baby Shop, a mitumba baby shop in Nairobi with branches in different parts of the country.
The entrepreneur was inspired to get into business in 2018 after having a difficult time finding baby cloths when she was pregnant.
Interestingly, the shop which was first established in Utawala, Nairobi is named after her firstborn daughter, Nila.
Here is Norah’s story as told by WoK.
In an interview with KTN, Norah noted that she got into the business to save pregnant women from the hassle of shopping for baby stuff.
She explained how she had a difficult time sourcing for things that she needed ahead of her baby’s arrival.
“It was tedious, I couldn’t get a place where I could shop for everything that I wanted,” she said.
With the support of her husband, Norah got her initial stock from Gikomba market but she ended up using most of it on her daughter.
“I didn’t make much out of the initial Ksh 14,000 stock, I kinda gave up but my husband he gave me another money that could help get another stock,” she said.
This time, she was given Ksh 200,000 for the stock but before getting them, she first looked for a shop to rent.
“That’s when I made a mistake, I looked for a shop and it had a Ksh 95,000 goodwill. I also had to design the shop and by the time I was done, I had Ksh 20,000 left,” Norah said.
She explained that she used the balance to get some stock and after talking to her husband, she was introduced to social media marketing.
“He opened the pages and they were up and running. I also took up the challenge and started posting in mothers’ groups and I would get clients,” she said.
By the end of 2018, the business was good and she was in a position to stock the shop and do deliveries to customers.
“It went so well and by January 2019 the business was extremely good but then in March, I got pregnant with my second born,” she said.
Norah was put on complete bed rest from March to August, forcing her to shut down her business completely.
“In August, I was given a clean bill of health and I resumed business. By the time I’m resuming business, I had rent arrears for five months,” she stated.
She was lucky to get good business when she resumed and she was able to find her footing once again.
She also hired someone to help her around the business.
“I was skeptical about employing anyone but my husband convinced me because business was picking up. I was adamant but I was compelled to,” Norah said.
All was well until she got a letter from her landlord requesting her to vacate the shop, forcing her to close down once again.
“When I closed down the shop, I told my employee that we were going to do it from home. She would come, get the clothes and make the deliveries
“We were doing so good online and we couldn’t manage to disappoint out clients,” Norah explained.
Norah worked remotely for a while before bouncing back to the scene again and opened another physical shop.
“When it’s entirely online people won’t believe you, but when you have a physical shop, customers will easily have trust in you,” she states.
The shop did well and years down the line, she expanded and she currently runs shops in Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu.
“The greatest assets in such businesses is the employees and the customers, you can have all the stock but the most important thing is your employees and customers,” Norah said.