By Prudence Minayo
Pauline Kinjah is the founder of Palde Farm Fresh, a grocery and home-delivery business based in Langata, Nairobi. Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, she was running a successful catering business which went under following cancellations of events. Rather than rest on laurels, she thought of another business idea. With her savings, she started Palde Farm Fresh alongside her catering business, Pau caterers.
Here is the story of Pauline Kinja as told by WoK.
Pauline Kinjah started her catering business in 2015. She started by preparing mandazi, chapati and samosa which she sold via WhatsApp. As he client base increased, she started a Facebook group.
Since she enjoyed cooking, she used the group to network and share recipes with members. Facebook also helped her gain a lot of clients. While her business was located in Lang’ata, she would deliver to other locations.
Her business, Pau Caterers, was born when a client went to pick snacks from her and asked whether she would be comfortable catering to weddings. This opened the door for more gigs.
By the time Covid-19 was hitting, she had catered for over 100 weddings. The pandemic was a huge blow for the business since it meant no events, and many canceled their bookings prompting her to start offering online cooking classes.
Palde Farm Fresh
Shortly after, she got the idea to start selling fresh farm produce. She had some savings and went to Nakuru where she bought potatoes, green peas, cabbages and carrots. She spent Sh40,000 on this trip and a further Sh30,000 on kales, tomatoes and other vegetables in Marikiti.
She first stored the products in her house and marketed them online. Then, she realized it was not enough and put them in the trunk of her car. However, some people were not happy with this. Luckily she found an empty shop near the same location in Langata.
Even with the grocery store now operational, she continued to deliver the farm produce to clients. She delivers to different locations including Syokimau and Athi River at a fee. She found that dealing with the farmer directly is much easier than middlemen. It eliminates extra costs meaning she can be able to sell to clients at a fair price.
According to her, no one can go wrong with Agribusiness. This doesn’t mean the business does not have challenges. Most of the fresh produce goes bad only after a few days and clients expect fresh groceries. To mitigate the waste, she takes the produce to an orphanage which she supports before they go bad. She has also taken some people under her wing and mentors them. Apart from groceries, she also sells fresh juices and yogurt.
In a 2020 interview with Vodafone, the entrepreneur revealed that she deliver groceries to around 300 customers a month.
“We’re delivering food by courier to around 300 customers a month now, some as far away as Mombasa – around 480km – with orders being placed through WhatsApp and paid for through M-Pesa. Our online business is growing fast and we’re not turning back,” she stated.
Balancing Business and Family
The mother of four boys has been able to not only curve her path in business but to also raise a family. She has to strike a balance between work and family by setting her priorities right. In a previous interview with PD, she revealed that her husband has been a great support system for her.
“My husband always supports and encourages me in the different phases of life I go through,” Pauline Kinjah told People Daily.