MEET HER: Nancy Gacheri Gitonga, The Founder Of Beta Shoes Kenya
In this week’s MEET HER series, Shaboard brings to you a beautiful and bubbly young lady who has defied all odds to build a successful local shoe empire. Meet Nancy, the C.E.O and Founder of Beta shoes, a Kenyan company that deals with the manufacture of quality, affordable shoes for both men and school going children. She is truly one of the women to look out for in Kenya and Africa as her passion and vibrancy instantly tells you she is going places. I got a chance to sit down with her and ask her a few questions about her company, and this is how the interview went.
Why did you decide to have your own shoe company?
I wanted to do something different that would live a mark. I had seen how getting quality affordable shoes had become a problem and wanted to fill in that gap and make a living out of it.
When did you start your company and how has the journey been?
This business started in a small room at my parents place in 2016. This was where production and everything else happened. I started production with just two people and myself. At the time I was still having my cashier job and was just from campus. I had some savings and used my salary to keep the business afloat. I believe 2016 was one of the hardest year of the business. The business actually failed twice, in that I was making zero profit and the business was running off the money in my pocket. On that same year I was fortunate enough to be the candidate representing Kenya in She Leads Africa in Nigeria. And that experience gave me the knowledge I needed to make my business what it is today. After the program in Nigeria, I came back and moved my company to a stall in Nairobi CBD. The stall was the size of a toilet and only one person could fit in with the machine, while the other one hanged around the corridor. After two months I moved into a bigger place and bought more equipment and the business was now making profit. It grew gradually until I was in a position to hire more people and make more shoes.
What were the initial challenges of running the business?
In adequate start-up capital and poor perception of the local market.
What do you think is the reason people are afraid to buy from local entrepreneurs?
Individuals have that formed opinion that products from outside their own country are better and would prefer to buy it at a higher price, even though we have the same products here, made locally and even better quality than those from other countries. I think individuals should learn to embrace local products and try their best to remove that mentality from upcoming generations because its killing the local market.
What makes your shoe brand, Beta shoes different from other brands?
My shoes are of very high quality, made of genuine leather, affordable and locally produced.
Are you making a living out of the business?
Yes I am, I resigned my job to do this full time and this is what earns me a living.
How many people have you employed?
I have employed 7 people permanently plus myself.
Are you involved in any Corporate Social Responsibility?
Yes I do, this is by selling school shoes to schools at almost half the price.
Where do you see Beta Shoes company In the next five years?
As the leading shoe company in Africa, providing quality and affordable leather shoes.
Advice to people who would want to venture into this kind of business?
Follow your passion. Nothing is impossible if you follow your passion. The venture is capital intensive and would advise one to fully prepare and do adequate research.
How can potential customers contact you?
We’re located in Nairobi CBD at superior arcade along Accra road
Find us on Facebook at Beta Shoes Kenya or call us on 0703184526/0711110421/0739217451