Nancy Gacheri is the 25 year old director of Best Shoes Kenya (BSK), and a Bachelor of Business Information Technology graduate. Currently she is working as a Sales and Marketing Manager for Sunstar Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Nancy is passionate about entrepreneurship and strives to leave a legacy of positive change in everything she does.
She currently blogs for Life after campus (http://whatelseaftercampus.co.ke/news/) and finds satisfaction in helping others.
Who is Nancy?
I am a God fearing, industrious, outgoing and well rounded young lady. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and motivated by the need to bring the change I want to see in the world.
What is Best Shoes Kenya?
Best Shoes Kenya was established in May 2016. It is a footwear manufacturing startup company which uses locally sourced materials. We manufacture men casual and official leather shoes, as well as school wear.
Our mission is to attain sustainable growth in business through the production of quality, affordable and classy shoes. We are a wholesale and retail shoe company situated at Membley estate Ruiru.
How did you find a gap in the market for your business?
The shoe industry in Kenya has seen most of its products coming from foreign countries. This pushed me to channel my entrepreneurship skills into shoe production. The need to produce quality and lasting Kenyan shoes is the motivation behind BSK.
What are three key business lessons you have learnt since running BSK?
- I had to learn to separate business cash flow from my personal savings, by having a separate bank account. This means also setting it up legal through registration.
- The customer is the most important person in my business, they can either grow it or bring it down.
- Plan first, then act. A business plan is a key stepping stone to a successful venture, without one you just are planning to fail.
How has the market responded to Best Shoes Kenya?
At first it was really difficult because the local market perception is that Kenyan products cannot be of good quality. But with time, we have been able to gain a loyal client base. Most of which are repeat customers or referral customers.
How do you balance your full time Sales and Marketing job and running the BSK business?
This has been my greatest challenge up to date. My full time job is from 8 am to 5 pm and from work I head home where my workshop is, to see the day’s production. It has taken so much personal discipline and sacrifice, and it has cost me a social life. I dedicate most weekends to Best Shoes Kenya and to responding to various customer queries and follow ups.
I am looking forward to running the business full-time, after raising a significant amount of cash to purchase the necessary machinery for production enhancement.
What are two challenges you have faced and overcome at BSK?
- Market penetration was the greatest challenge due to poor product perception. The myth that locally made products are not good quality. But through the production of high quality products, which meet customer satisfaction, we were able to establish a loyal client base.
- Balancing between my full time job and running a business used to drain my energy significantly. But with time I have been able to strike a balance.
What keeps you inspired to run your business each day?
I am my own motivator, and I desire to become a change agent. The dream is to see BSK on the next level, as I explore my entrepreneurial spirit and positively impact lives.
What is your three year growth plan for BSK?
The three year plan for BSK is to be a front-runner of locally manufactured shoes in Kenya and the greater African market . To grow to have a ternary for leather, soles and all needed for the production of shoes. To begin a HUB which will promote the entrepreneurial spirit among Kenyans, and hopefully inspire the youth to realize their goals.
In one sentence, how would you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as someone who pursued her dreams and did not just get comfortable with living, until she brought about the change she wanted to see.
Are you in the shoe manufacturing industry?
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