Business knocked me down, I’m not back up

Ayan Kanji, 22, was left disappointed and traumatized as her dreams of creating a fashion brand in the trendy millennial generation faded as soon as she begun carving her ears-old idea into reality.

I never imagined being regarded as a disappointment, especially in an era where creative ideas and young entrepreneurs dominated the scenes. Being 20 and already on the verge of completing my Undergraduate University education was a big deal. The feeling of satisfaction that came with being accomplished at a young age did not match any other.

I was in my final year of a University in Eldoret town and as expected, I had big dreams. I knew that creating a name in fashion was not going to be an easy task because of those already accomplished. This did not frighten me at all. I was a fighter and this was a challenge too good to pass. My thirst for an internationally renowned brand was inevitable.

A decision to begin an African Couture Line was warmly welcomed by masses. My friend Chima, 20, decided to jump into the bandwagon. We longed for the days when our clothing line would be graced by well-known models on the runways in and out of the country. Little did I know that there was a crucial but missing piece to all these; Guidance and Proper Financial Planning.

We managed to secure a working space in one of the major shopping centres in the town. All the logistics came into play, including a capital of Sh50,000 and soon enough, we were up and running. Our stock was obtained from different countries for example, Uganda, which had cheaper clothing materials. We had a motive of creating a diverse blend of unique infusions that would give superb, like no other, end-products.

It would not be a two-man game as we later realized. We had to hire a salesperson for an employee. This was a challenge in disguise. We were never around full-time because of various commitments, majorly, a school schedule that was strictly adhered to.

As six months into business went by swiftly, I began to notice a deficit in our operations. The profits were never enough to pay the employee as most of it went to restocking the shop. While we paid the employee Sh1,000 on a monthly basis, we would award ourselves depending with what was left of the profit. Something was clearly wrong. Arranged meetings with my partner brought up a mutual line of thought.

Soon enough, the salesperson dropped in a word of resignation, citing inadequate pay. This was a big blow to the business. We embraced an immediate plan of action and decided that we would handle the sales. After all, aren’t two heads better than one?

The finances took a turn for the worst and we were beginning to experience delays in paying our business rent of Sh6,000. That was just it. What is the use of a business but nothing to account for the sales? The end of a beginning came to pass as our responsibilities grew and we had to part ways. A blooming flower now turned humus. What a sad ending for bright minds seeking a breakthrough.

For now, I am working on a good entrepreneurial map. Maybe one day, I will not let my impediment define my accomplishment.


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