It is amazing how life offers everyone opportunities; to be successful, contribute to the society and make huge impact. But only the keen and attentive are able to spot these opportunities as they come, even when disguised or hidden in the most unlikely circumstances.
For Kenyan brothers, Jeff and Emmanuel Wanjala, opportunity came, dressed in the traditional Maasai shuka, a cloth usually worn by the Maasai tribe in Kenya and wrapped around the body, to produce clothes and accessories in vibrant tribal prints. And guess what? They were quick to spot it.
While the Maasai tribe is seen as tall and valiant warriors, not many imagined that they could be an inspiration for a clothing line.
The Nairobi-based brothers founded Wan Fam Clothing in 2009 with the desire to pay homage to the Maasai culture by creating a fashionable urban wear using traditional garment.
Responding to the high demand of local designs, they launched a collection called 1963, commemorating 50 years of Kenya’s independence. And like wild fire, the line tore across the country, leaving a noticeable impression wherever it touched.
“This was one of the best sales we ever had. We had launched it on a Friday and by Monday we had sold like half the collection,” Jeff Wanjala says.
The brand, which launched in 2009, boasts 100 unit sales each month, with bags sold at $18 and jackets $29. Like every other start up, its growth hasn’t been without challenges,
“Once you make a good product, automatically people start coming in, so the new clients start thinking that you are actually the one imitating the products,” Jeff explains.
But inspite of the challenges, they still record high profits. The secret?
“Once you create a good product, you create demand,” he says.
The brothers understand that the season is ripe for Kenyan and other African designers, to take the world and show the stuff they are made of. To them, it’s time every African designer looked inward to discover and indeed share with the rest of the world, the African experience and the beautiful things that make us unique.
Like the Wanjala brothers, you have what it takes to create your own niche and take the world. This is your time, go for it!