For many, the prospect of resigning from their job to start their own is quite scary.
Millions of talented people around the world are ever torn between job security and the chance to chase their dreams in personal ventures.
But Mercy Njeri Wainaina never had a second thought when she decided to resign and start her own company.
Njeri (the supplier) as she prefers to be called, is one entrepreneur that has stood the test of time, gambled left right and centre and finally emerged victorious, or so it appears.
She feels great when she provides solutions to problems. She says she hates carrying bags especially those plastic bags (before the ban was effected). She saw many people grudgingly walk around with heave bags and saw a business opportunity to provide a safekeeping place for bags and other luggage to let their bearers do other activities without much hustle.
That’s how ‘Wachia Agency’ was born. The term ‘wachia’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘Leave it with me.’ “I was convinced leaving the luggage with me would solve the problem of walking around with big bags,” she said in an interview.
Njeri talked to BUSINESS TODAY about how this business works and how she has fallen and risen several times before hitting the right chord.
Who is Njeri Wainaina?
I’m a journalist turned entrepreneur. I had a dream of becoming a lawyer but my mother could not afford to enrol me in law school. I had to pursue journalism and mass communication with a keen interest in public relations at the Technical University of Kenya, where I graduated in 2013.
I secured an internship at the Ministry of Trade and landed a job at the Radio Africa Group as a sales rep before moving on to another corporate. I loved my new job as a corporate officer but still, I was not satisfied. I felt there was much in me to exhaust but work conditions could not allow me since it was more of a cage to me. After only nine months, I resigned but lied to my mother that I had been sacked.
SEE ALSO: Simple ways to raise start-up capital
Then what happened…?
I was jobless but with a well-scripted business plan. I was thrown into a totally different world of hustling. My first attempt was to approach angel investors but this did not work. However, I had a breakthrough during one of my voluntary CSR trips when I met Ahadi Kenya CEO. The guy was just opening a new hotel so I convinced him to allow me to supply detergents to his hotel. Out of my first supply of Ksh5000, I made Ksh50,000 profit. Within one month, I had earned over Ksh200,000. And the journey to establish Wachia Agency began.
Tell us more about Wachia
The agency has emerged as a solution to many, ranging from online retailers to people with luggage in town. We provide space for goods. For instance, an online seller can deposit goods at Wachia and direct a client to pick them from us at a fee. Secondly, we provide safe lockers where sellers can stock their goods.
We also provide a changing room for people who want to change their clothes, say, after travelling or clients who want to fit their clothes before or after buying.
Basically, we offer a safe place where you can leave your goods and pick them at your convenience.
Tell your turning point as an entrepreneur?
I had big plans. I thought I would kick off the business with a bang! I wanted to open three outlets, one each on Tom Mboya Street, Moi Avenue and Koinange Street but had to narrow this down. I realized that starting small is the smartest approach in entrepreneurship.
What’s the next big thing?
Wachia Agency in on the move. Our dream is to see a well-established automated system where one can easily leave his/her goods at any time come back and pick it just by a single button dial. We are also on the road to expansion, we plan to open more branches in the main cities of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.
Say a word to up and coming entrepreneurs.
Keep dreaming, persevere, pray hard and stand out to be felt and always remember the people you surround yourself with have a direct impact on your success and failure.
Who is your role model?
Wachia Agencies which operates rental luggage lockers affords customers the comfort when in the city by leaving their extra luggage to attend to other matters with ease and stress-free.
The agency located at Kenya House on Koinange Street, 2nd Floor S16 also offers a drop-off point for online vendors. Clients can drop and pick up their luggage at their own convenient time.