In a remarkable tale of resilience and determination, Purity Wambui’s life transformed from humble beginnings as a house girl to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Her journey is an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs and a testament to the power of perseverance, hard work, and unwavering belief in oneself.
In this article, WoK delves into Purity’s extraordinary story from Meru to Nairobi where she found success.
Purity’s Early Struggles
Born into a broken family in Munithu – Nyaki West Ward, Purity faced numerous hardships and challenges from an early age. With her parents’ separation and her mother getting into illicit brewing, she often found herself alone and had to raise herself from lower primary school.
Despite the financial difficulties she faced, her thirst for education and determination for a better life continued to grow.
She completed her primary education at Kamiti Primary School, scoring 387 out of 700 marks in her KCPE exams.
However, Purity faced another hurdle—lack of financial support to continue with her studies. Undeterred, she started selling vegetables by the roadside outside her grandmother’s home.
Through relentless efforts, she raised Ksh 1,500, which she used to buy essential items for high school. She then sought a sponsor for her high school education and was successful when a Catholic priest named Father Dominic sponsored.
Joining high school however, she did not have the essentials nor was she able to purchase a school uniform.
She decided to spend the Ksh 1,500 she had saved at Meru’s Gakoromone market to get these items for herself. She bought second hand clothes for her uniform, a Ksh 150 pair of shoes, and refurbished her mother’s old box for her storage needs at school.
In high school, Purity was a stellar performer and soon her teachers began supporting her by providing her books for free.
She also tells of spending weekends at school doing some work for a teacher who would in return buy her basic shopping needs. Over the holidays, she looked for people who would let her work on their farms as she sought to raise money for her upkeep at school.
The Journey to Nairobi
After completing her secondary education, Purity found herself at crossroads. Her high school sponsor had left the country and her mother was not in a financial position to continue educating her.
Without the means to pursue tertiary education, she came across a newspaper advertisement that would change her life. This was a potential job with a house managers’ agency. She went to a telephone booth, called the agency and was told that there was a job opportunity for her in Nairobi.
She worked in a farmer to raise fare to travel to the city. The entrepeneur then embarked on a journey to Nairobi armed with determination and a paper bag filled with a few clothes she had borrowed from her friends.
The First Steps in Nairobi
Her first experiences in the city were quite hostile. The agency she had contacted did not have ready jobs as they operated in a system where the employers would come and scout for the lady they preferred as their house help.
Purity was not selected on her first day as the employers thought she had a cruel look on her face and would not be able to take care of their kids.
After the agency closed in the evening, she had to find a place to sleep as the agency did not have lodging facilities. This is how she ended up in Muthurwa market with the other ladies seeking employment with the agency.
Here, they went into a motel where they offered to clean the place and in exchange, the owner would give them cartons to sleep on for the night.
Joining the Gikomba Market
Through sheer luck, she secured employment as a house girl and saved Ksh 10,000. In 2002, she made a life-changing decision to join her sister at Gikomba Market, one of Nairobi’s largest open-air markets.
Initially, her aim was to earn money for her education, but her astute business acumen and deep understanding of the market propelled her beyond her initial aspirations.
Purity’s ability to assess the value of shoes and make profitable sales led to the flourishing of her business.
She quickly gained a reputation for offering high-quality products at competitive prices. Her exceptional customer service and strong work ethic attracted a loyal clientele, allowing her to expand her operations.
A Ksh3.5 Million Fire Tragedy Loss
However, tragedy struck in 2015 when a devastating fire swept through Gikomba Market, consuming the budding businesslady cash and goods worth Ksh3.5 million.
It was a crushing blow, but Purity refused to be defeated. A good friend came through for her when he called her with an opportunity to kick start her business once more.
He provided her shoe bales to sell and with her sales expertise was able to make Ksh 10,000 in just an hour and was ready to sell more.
Purity’s benefactor became the man that helped her revolutionize her business after the fire from being a B2C seller to now operating as a broker.
He provided her with the bales to resell to other sellers and with this new model was able to make more money in a day than before the fire tragedy. In a few months, she was able to stabilize, purchase a plot of land and gain more financial freedom.
Success and Continued Growth
Driven by unwavering ambition, Purity began importing full containers of mitumba from the UK, Canada, and China on a regular basis.
Her business named Kastevic Mitumba Importers has enabled her to offer a wide range of clothing options and reach more customers.
She has also developed strong friendships and mentors younger traders for free. Some of these are her employees who give a testament as to the kind of support she offers them and tips even on how to sell online.