At the age of 25 years, Juddy Samba is building her own fashion empire.
The founder and chief executive of Sambafashions is walking her own runway as a fashion designer and fashion events organiser.
It was not always like this for Juddy, who has no educational background in fashion. At first, she had thought she would make it by studying to be a flight attendant as well as customer service. But after tasting the fruits of employment as a customer care operator at one of Kenya’s top telcos, Samba found the monotony of sitting behind a desk constraining on her creative juices.
It was then that she decided to quit her job and form Sambafashions.
“I was too creative for an 8 to 5 job,” she told Business Today in an interview. “I decided to take the risk and started Samba Fashion out of whatever savings I had.”
That was three years ago and since then, the Seventh Day Adventist has worked at developing African wear fashion designs as well as hosting fashion events. She specialises in designing clothes, shoes and bags for both ladies and for men.
Born Judith Samba to a Kenyan father and Tanzanian mother, the 25 year old fashionista says she decided to focus on African wear because a host of Kenyans are smitten with a love for fashion from the West.
“We do not accept our own, and as Kenyans and Africans, we ought to enjoy and be comfortable with fashion that represents us. We need more of made in Kenya fashion,” she says.
Despite having Tanzanian blood in her veins, Samba says she identifies as Kenyan and enjoyed the Harambee Stars’ 3-2 win over Taifa Stars at the Africa Cup of Nations 2019.
In her journey through the fashion industry, Samba says she is grateful that she found people who could “take my hand” and walk with. These include Sally Karago and Liz Njoroge, two local fashion icons who have been in the industry for a number of years.
“Always seek to learn from others who have gone ahead of you. Their experience is valuable,” she says.
Juddy also says that she got a lot of support from her family and friends following her decision to quit her job and venture into the fashion industry. Her first clients were based on referrals from her family and friends, even as she developed publicity of her own through social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.
At the same time, venturing into fashion has changed a lot of perspectives that she had of the world, and has also influenced her character development. “I used to be very impatient, but I have learnt that you need patience to deal with people.”
Samba considers herself as her biggest inspiration, saying she is not a big fan of copying ‘role models.’ “I rather work hard than to depend upon someone else. I motivate myself.”
The fashionista adds that if she were to advice anyone on starting in the fashion industry, one should just start out and take the risk. At the same time, she would tell someone to ensure that they always pay those they work with, understand the differences in people and accomodate everyone.
“Ensure you have a good tailor. That is the most important basic need in the fashion industry,” she says.