Joy Sintamei, 20, joined college Multimedia University of Kenya in 2016 to pursue Mass Communication after a long debate with her mother about her career choice.
After two semesters, she was unable to continue with her studies due to financial challenges.
Being a firstborn in a family of three, she felt she had to be a role model and had to be busy despite being away from school.
“I was torn in between joining nursing school, which was my mum’s choice, or specialising in interior design which she fully disputed. I opted for mass communication,” she said.
WANTED TO KEEP BUSY
After staying away from school, she grew more desperate for something to keep her busy.
This became harder on meeting her colleagues who were still going on with their studies.
“I used to meet friends at the movie joints who are still going on with their studies and wondered how I would see myself back to school.”
She asked friends to help her find a job but none of them offered help.
“Having no academic papers made it hard for me to apply for any job.”
She used internet and other platforms to look for business ideas and job offers but none of them led to a venture of her interest.
“One of my friends who was already operating a successful business asked me what I loved doing most and advised it could be my starting point. Ever since I was a little girl, I had passion for interior décor even though I never got a chance to put it into practice.”
Ms Sintamei told her friend that given a chance, she would offer solutions to interior décor at a fee.
“With nothing to show for my work, he gave me an order to make for him 18 pillows and gave me Sh2,000 as deposit for the work. I used the money to purchase Jara print material for the work.”
After completion of the work, her first client paid her Sh 10,200.This was her first payment of the work she had done in barely a week.
“I was very excited and this motivated me to open a Facebook page where I started posting anything I made.”
In less than a year, 20-year-old Ms Sintamei has established a clientele who contact her through various platforms which include Facebook page and networking with friends.
Her preferred material is Jara print which she uses in all her work.
“The fabric is appealing to the eyes because it comes in numerous colours and it is of good quality.”
Small pillows go for between Sh500 and Sh700 which come in rectangular or triangular shapes while the bigger ones go for between Sh1000 and Sh1500.
She also uses the African print to cover notebooks and diaries to give it a new face.
“I realised that some of the diaries are too huge and one ends up using barely half of the space at the end of the year while the cover clearly indicates its year of use. By covering it with the material, it gives it a stylish look and extends the period for use.”
She also makes other interior décor material which include candle holders, flower vessels, picture-frames and lampshades.
“I do cover with Jara print and Denim for Sh 250 but the price is a bit higher if one requires to get a diary myself. The rest of the work I charge according to the demands of the client.”
Through the business, Ms Sintamei is now able to make enough to see go back to school independently.
She says she looks forward to pursuing a career that satisfies her passion.
“I’m looking forward to start my own company that will also help me in fulfilling dreams of people who are unable to achieve their dreams for lack of an opportunity,” she said.
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This bold 26-year-old is the director and CEO of one of the leading tours and travel operators in the country, Bountiful Safaris.