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Stacy Auma: Successful Mitumba Bales Dealer Who Began Her Venture With Ksh 1000

Stacy Auma’s journey is one of resilience and determination. She has carved out a niche for herself in the crowded mtumba bale business. She started operating a bale store in Gikomba after facing numerous challenges including being arrested more than once by city council officials for selling clothes in Nairobi town.

Speaking to Nation in a January 2023 interview, she detailed her struggles and how she finally opened a shop in Gikomba.

Washing clothes and food business

Like many other job seekers, Stacy dropped her CV in various places hoping to get a call back without success. She then started washing clothes for people in Nairobi’s Greenspan area.

This lasted until she began to have back pains and her mother encouraged her to become a food vendor instead. She started a fish business that ran for four months until losses forced her to close down.

Mtumba business

Once again, her mother encouraged her to try and find clothes in Gikomba. She had Sh500 and her mother added her another Sh500.

At Gikomba, she was able to buy thirty sweater tops each going for Sh30. She sent them to be ironed at Sh2 and later sold them for Sh100 each making more than 100 per cent profit. Eventually, she started selling jumpers and opened a stall in Roysambu.

Hurdles

One day, she met a classmate who was into the same business. She encouraged her to go sell the jumpers in town. On her first day, she was arrested by city council officials at 6pm and released at 9pm.

She had to call her mother for fare. The next day, she showed up again and managed to sell everything. This gave her the motivation to go the following day.

Unfortunately, she was arrested at 4pm having had only Sh50 at the time. Those with Sh500 were released early but she had to stay until she could raise the money.

A new start

After all the hardships, she collaborated with some women to buy a container of mtumba bales for Sh200,000. To get another bale stock, she took a loan, and was helped by someone else and her mother, who also took a loan.

They ordered for bales of secondhand handbags, clothes, shoes and household items. She opened a stall in Gikomba and finally started selling bales.

The businesswoman also runs a stall in
Roysambu. Stacy gets to Gikomba by 6am and leaves at 3pm. She has gotten clients through referrals and by posting on social media.

The biggest challenge has been the frequent fires that plague Gikomba market. The other is trying to convince customers to buy from her instead of other sells. There is also the fact that at times, she may get a bale that has low quality products leading to losses.