By Prudence Minayo
Sammy Keiza is the founder of Lush Coat Paints, a company he founded before the age of 25. When financial difficulties forced him to drop out of school, he found something to do and eventually started a paints business.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
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He was introduced to the world of paints at a very young age. His father worked in Tanzania for a paints manufacturer. During school holidays he would visit and his father would take him on a tour of the company showing him how things were done. He also has several relatives who worked with paints.
Sammy was pursuing Business Information Technology but had to drop out of college due to financial constraints when the company his father was working for went under.
The entrepreneur got a job working with a big local paints manufacturer. After a while, he joined online business until it became too competitive. He also wanted to do something which he had control of and he could work on his own terms. Sammy Keiza thought of various business ideas and was even contemplating getting into the car business. He bought a Nissan Note and sold it almost immediately making a profit of Sh12,000.
His father had unsuccessfully tried his hand in the business and he felt that succeeding was a way to fulfill the dreams of his father.
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Lush Coat Paints
Lush coat paints was founded on an initial capital investment of Sh800,000 which was used to purchase raw materials, the blender, paying rent, connecting power and renovating the workshop.
Lush paints officially began operations in April 2016. The very first client was not impressed with the paints and he had to go back and remake it to the client’s satisfaction. This was followed by a steady growth amidst several challenges.
One of his biggest challenges was finding clients and people to invest in something new. As he was starting the business in Old town Mombasa, he knew no one in the area which made it hard to convince people to buy his products. There were times when he felt like giving up but inspired by the hope of leaving a legacy for his children and continuing to provide employment for others, he pressed on.
Today, the firm can produce more than 12,000 shades of color depending on the client’s needs.
“We manufacture the best. We have put so much efforts and also resources into researching and developing products. Our products are better than most of the companies, especially the big corporates. We really love to hear from the client, especially their satisfaction. That is what we aim for,” he said during a feature on KTN four years ago.
His biggest marketing tool are his clients as he believes a satisfied client will spread the word.