The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘Business’

Finding Your Own Tribe

Finding your own tribe

Finding a Tribe Through Shared Values

During a wonderful conversation with my taxi driver recently, we talked business and discussed the tariff rivalry between Uber and that of Safaricom’s new Little Cab taxi service.

I was really concerned about the climate of his business but he confidently reassured me, “Don’t worry, it’s business as usual for me.” “Uber and Little Cab customers are actually not my customers,” he added.

He explained that his customers are people who’ve known him over the years and now trust him. Also, that it’s ok if Uber & Little cab users don’t opt for his services, he’s got his own pack hooked onto the value of friendship, loyalty and trust.

Now I know why I’ve been his customer for all these years despite Uber & Little Cab cheap tariffs.

I’ve been investing in a relationship, not money.

Truly, a great business lesson from my dear taxi driver, Victor (aka Baba Daniel).

#BeInspired

My failures, our lessons

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I recently experienced a season of failure in business and so I have come to learn that failure is an ingredient of great success. My attitude towards this has helped me embrace it, learn from it and find ways to keep working on my ideas and dreams.

Today, I enjoyed an inspiring conversation with my house-help about the GES 2015. She told me that she’s been in business before and that she’s been saving up to rekindle her business back in the village so that her daughter can access secondary school education.

I promised to be on the lookout for opportunities that would benefit her and she encouraged me to keep working on my dreams and never give up.

So there we were, two 27-year-old Kenyan women from different backgrounds who’d failed in business yet still encouraging each other.

This brings to life Gena Showalte’s words, “Giving up is the only way to fail.”

#StayPositive 

Bank on being you!

Bank on being you

Bank on being you

One of my mentors is an event planner who’s been in the event planning business for more than 20 years in Kenya. Let’s call her Alice*.

During a session one day, I asked her what an entrepreneur should protect at all times. I thought she was going to mention networks, investment, knowledge/wisdom, loyal staff members…etc.

Little did I expect to hear her say, “your creativity.”

Alice went further to explain that it is what has kept her in business for more than 20 years. Despite her being one of the pioneers in the wedding industry in Kenya, she has faced challenging times as people check-in to her organisation in the name of “learning” yet in reality some are often sent by competitors to copy her mode of running business. Boy am I learning it first-hand as others try to do the same with my new startup.

Over the years, Alice watched businesses come up and crash down as they tried to copy her approach. They got what they wanted so why didn’t the businesses thrive?

Well, her answer to this is that copying is attractive but in real sense more tiresome than coming up with your own ideas. When a business faces challenges, it is the leader’s creativity that often plays a part in salvaging the organisation.

In her events business, Alice was able to always come up with new products, services and approaches that the “copy cats” found hard to keep up with because they only depended upon her steps. Her creativity helped to fuel her vision which helped her branch out of Kenya and into other countries while some of the “copy cats” went out of business over the years.

Moral of the story: You are your best asset because you are the only one who understands your vision 100%. So protect your creativity as this is what every successful person holds as a secret weapon. Look at some of the most successful initiatives in the world then do a background check on the leaders who contributed to their success. You’ll realise that it’s their creativity that helped them spot opportunities in places, things and climates where others didn’t see possible for the success of their vision.

#StayMotivated

Kiss Nairobi address problems goodbye!

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If you have lived in Nairobi, even for a short while, then you might have noticed just how difficult it can be to find physical addresses to places you want to be or where people could find you.

Specialized hospitals during medical emergencies. Office headquarters in case of a job interview. Home addresses for food or product deliveries. Even worse, not knowing your friend’s wedding location or where the party is at!

To be honest, Google Maps and Navigator Apps are good but unfortunately, they do lack the value of upgraded physical locations. A friend and I once got lost in Westlands looking for a place that was only about 200 meters away but hadn’t been upgraded on Google Maps or Navigator Apps. We drove in circles like headless chickens. Haha!

But all is not lost because I struck gold with the OkHi App which allows me to accurately describe and share my physical address so that someone won’t get lost as they try to locate my home, office or where I could be hosting an event.

What is more, the team behind OkHi is Nairobi-based and so they’ve got a better understanding of the address challenges faced in Kenya, hence, more effective physical address solutions.

What is OkHi?
OkHi is a technology startup based in Nairobi, Kenya that is solving the lack of physical address system here and beyond.

Did You Know?
The greatest challenge facing the current physical address system in Kenya isn’t that it doesn’t work but that it fundamentally doesn’t exist.
Majority of homes do not have a name or number, rarely have a street name and definitely no national level post or zip code.

This leads to major social and economic issues that are throttling growth in Kenya.

Fortunately, the OkHi team is working tirelessly to ensure that Kenya is not lost when it comes to enjoying opportunities that come with improved access to accurate physical addresses.

Click here for more about OkHi!

Scars into Stars – A Lifestyle of Mentorship!

A Lifestyle of Mentorship

A Lifestyle of Mentorship

 

My failed businesses had a purpose after all! Recently, I learned the positive side to all of my failed business projects in the past.

My mother once looked at me as I cried, one failed business followed by another. I had done my research right. I had prepared a super business strategy; I had already contacted some business mentors. Yet still, my businesses did not pick up and failed in the end. I truly learned the art of trial and error with an extra baggage of frustration.

But today, my mother’s words, “My dear child, don’t worry, one day all these things will make sense.”

That ‘one day’ was today!

I met a young man on my way home who camped outside in the cold selling some warm snacks for passers-by. I was intrigued by his determination and the fact that he was the only vendor within vicinity who was actually standing up, waiting for customers. Other vendors had wrapped themselves in warm things as they curled themselves on their chairs waiting for clients.

I’ve got the blood of a marketer so I simply gave-in to the young man for his commendable appeal. What I had planned to be a one-stop trip to buy a roasted smokie with kachumbari led to a deep conversation about business.

He said that he never got the chance to finish school but he’s using what he’s got to earn a decent living. In the freezing cold weather he smiled with excitement over his small business and said that he would like to try out new products. Other vendors had taken up his idea and he needed to beat the competition.

As he spoke, I remembered all of my struggles; all the capital I had invested, burning the midnight oil doing research and coming up with a business strategy, prayers galore and making my family members guinea pigs for business experiments

I could not leave this young man without fueling his passion for his business.

And so I spoke, and asked him questions, provided him with examples and gave him ideas on how to expand his business. He was amazed that a stranger would take time to motivate him!

Well, at the time my business was failing flat on the floor… my friends had no idea about why I needed to make it work so bad, my mentors suddenly went A-WALL, my family honestly just needed a break.

Then I finally learned my lesson today: my business failed not because my attitude or plans were wrong. They simply failed because of that extra push to greatness that I lacked from someone who believed in me.

I know not if I’ll ever meet the young man again, but one thing is for sure – I made sure that by the time I left that young man, he didn’t have questions but ideas to put into action. After purchasing the snacks that he sold, I am glad that he was more determined than I had found him.

~Even if we suffer through challenges, the least we can do is carry the lessons we learn though it all and use them to inspire another person.

This is the true spirit of mentorship!

Yours Truly,
Ayuma.

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th - 22nd September)

Storymoja Hay Festival 2013 (19th – 22nd September)

 

UPCOMING HAY FESTIVAL!!!

The Storymoja Hay Festival is on September 19 – 22, 2013. Mark the Date. You will definitely leave the festival thinking in a whole new way! Imagine the World OR Waza Dunia

Follow Storymoja Hay Festival on Facebook and on @SMHayFest on Twitter for updates on tickets, travel & accomodation, guest authors, pre-fest events and event programming. see also our official website.

 

HISTORY OF STORY MOJA:

Storymoja Hay Festival is a collaboration between Kenyan publishers Storymoja and Hay Festival UK to create a platform for showcasing great literature, poetry and ideas in the country’s capital, Nairobi.
Out of the various editions organized by Hay Festival UK the Storymoja Hay Festival is the only one in Africa. It is arguably the biggest literary event in East and Central Africa. It is held annually in Nairobi and features internationally renowned creative minds.
Founded in 2008 The Storymoja Hay Festival is a four day celebration of our stories and our culture through storytelling, books, live discussion forums, workshops, debates, live performances, competitions, mchongoano and music.
The Storymoja Hay Festival has grown from 500 visitors the first year, to over 5000 attendees in 2012
We have enjoyed the support of over 50 partners over the last four years, including HIVOS, US Embassy, British Council, Dutch Embassy, National Museums of Kenya, Kenya ICT Board, Google, Alexander Forbes, Oxfam,

African Fashion Rocks!!!

WELCOME TO LA MAR

There’s a wild animal in each one of us!

We live in this modern jungle called Nairobi where the survival for the sleekest is the rule of game.

La Mar - Splash of Colour

La Mar – Splash of Colour

LA MAR celebrates two official years of online shopping for authentic fashion accessories which are all custom-made!

La Mar Designs - Photography by Ben Kiruthi

We believe in the beauty of bringing out the best features of each animal in us with a dash of African flair: the rockers, the rooted African, the nostalgic retroman , sporty dudes & dudettes, the dynamic artist, the boardroom giant, you name it, we’ve got somemething for everyone!

La Mar - Mosaic of a Woman Dance

La Mar – Mosaic of a Woman Dance

There is a wide range of accessories to meet your fancy!

La Mar - Mosaic of a Woman Professional

La Mar – Mosaic of a Woman Professional

Men’s fashion, Women’s fashion, Kids’ fashion and even Home and Office accessories.

La Mar - Men's Fashion

La Mar – Men’s Fashion

La Mar - Fabulosity

La Mar – Fabulosity

La Mar - Kids' Collection

La Mar – Kids’ Collection

La Mar - Office and Home Wall Piece

La Mar – Office and Home Wall Piece

Our team is driven by a pure mix of creativity, fun and an adventurous smashing of rules to come up with fantastic pieces that leave each wearer of our designs feeling absolutely fabulous.

Faces of La Mar

Faces of La Mar

Having started from simple beginnings, LA MAR has now grown into a dynamic online shop through the LA MAR Facebook Page with thousands of fans from across the urban jungle. Like our page NOW and indulge in our rich serving of glamour!

La Mar - Standing Out

La Mar – Standing Out

It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words. So let La Mar blow your mind away with the thousands-of-words captured in the gallery below from the LA MAR Gallery.

Enjoy!

LA MAR PAIRINGS

La Mar - Fun Times Piece

La Mar – Fun Times Piece

La Mar - Safari Pairing

La Mar – Safari Pairing

La Mar - Date Night Pairing

La Mar – Date Night Pairing

La Mar - Afrique Pairing

La Mar – Afrique Pairing

LA MAR RINGS

La Mar - Ring Collection

La Mar – Ring Collection

La Mar - Rings

La Mar – Rings

LA MAR LONG NECK PIECES

La Mar - Funky Neck Piece

La Mar – Funky Neck Piece

La Mar - Men's Neck Piece

La Mar – Men’s Neck Piece

La Mar - Funky Fun Neck Piece

La Mar – Funky Fun Neck Piece

LA MAR EAR PIECES

La Mar - Button Ear Piece

La Mar – Button Ear Piece

La Mar - Ear Piece Fun

La Mar – Ear Piece Fun

La Mar - Ear Piece

La Mar – Ear Piece

LA MAR WRIST PIECES

La Mar - Charm Wrist Piece

La Mar – Charm Wrist Piece

La Mar - Wrist Mix

La Mar – Wrist Mix

La Mar - Men's Cuff Piece

La Mar – Men’s Cuff Piece

LA MAR ANTIQUE PIECES

La Mar - Brass Neck Piece

La Mar – Brass Neck Piece

La Mar - Bold Antique Neck Piece

La Mar – Bold Antique Neck Piece

La Mar - Aluminium Neck Piece

La Mar – Aluminium Neck Piece

La Mar - Antique Neck Piece

La Mar – Antique Neck Piece

LA MAR BROOCHE

La Mar - Brooche Piece

La Mar – Brooche Piece

LA MAR BAGS

La Mar - Fuschia Clutch Bag

La Mar – Fuschia Clutch Bag

La Mar - Clutch Bag

La Mar – Clutch Bag

LA MAR GIFT CARD

La Mar - Gift Card

La Mar – Gift Card

More from the LA MAR Gallery:

La Mar Beginnings

La Mar Spring 2013 Men’s Collection

La Mar Spring 2013 Women’s Collection

La Mar Fall 2012 Collection

La Mar Kid’s Collection

La Mar Home and Office Collection

La Mar Weddings

La Mar Bag Collection

La Mar Mosaic of a Woman Photoshoot

Out of the Shadows Fashion Catwalk featuring La Mar designs

Do you like what LA MAR has got for you?

Place your order NOW and get a free delivery within Nairobi!!!

Contact us on +254 787 148 198

We do welcome your feedback.

Keep it LA MAR!

🙂

La Mar - Logo

La Mar – Logo

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

Amazing Zanzibar!

Have you ever longed for a holiday for quite some time only for reality to constantly strike you with demands, demands and more demands? Well, that was me for quite a number of years but little did I know that one awaited my indulgence in April 2013. I recently found out that I had been booked for a flight to Zanzibar for a business trip. You can only imagine how my eyes welled, for I never thought that the day would come this soon. I could finally accomplish my dream travels to Zanzibar! Why the emotion? Well, let’s just say that I had been longing for a Zanzibar holiday since high-school. It may seem fairly naïve but I guess once a girl, always a girl!

 

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Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

The best thing about this trip is that it barely hit me that I was working during my stay at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa added to the importance of pursuing a job that I love. I had a great time bonding with my colleagues and discovering their great sense of humour. I got the chance to build friendships with some of the other hotel guests which was amazing as we still communicate. The staff members were polite, the themed dinners at Mangapwani Restaurant absolutely scrumptious.

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Mwangapwani Restaurant Poolside – Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

The venue was breath-taking with scenetic traditional Swahili architecture, tropical plants gracing the landscape, the Jetty Bar that literally floats atop the Indian Ocean, a lovely beach by day and crushing waves by the ocean cliff by evening.

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Jetty Bar at Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

There’s also a mini-beach within the hotel compound, bicycles available for cycling and even a gym that I escaped visiting out of laziness…Haha! I had the chance to enjoy a Jacuzzi in my room and this added to my indulgence.

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Jacuzzi in Executive Room – Sea Cliff Resort & Spa

 

The conference facilities were excellent and perhaps this explained why there were so many international guests flocking in for business conferences! Other guests incuded families from all around the world enjoying a summer holiday and even some couples possessed with love on their honeymoon. There was enough for everyone to feast on at the great location!

 

Meeting the Locals

I learned so much from the locals in Zanzibar during a tour to some of the CARE International humanitarian projects. It was clear that I came out as a city girl since my Nairobi Kiswahili called for assistance with translation into the heavily Arabic Swahili spoken in Zanzibar. I got empowered by the strength and resilience of the ladies who fought tradition to pursue a wholesome life for their families and protecting the dignity of their daughters by daily breaking sweat to educate them. Early marriages are often the trend on the island and due to lack of proper girl-child education; homes are often dependent on men as bread-winners. The main project feature tree farming, jiko (ceramic stove) making and butterfly farming. We had a great chat with the project beneficiaries and even managed to receive great shopping tips from the ladies. We women and shopping!

 

Shopping Experience

Oftentimes, many go to StoneTown to shop where prices are hiked due to its popularity as a tourist centre. Instead we went with our driver to do some shopping and it was funny how he got into the shopping fever to a point of recommending which dress I should buy for my mother and the Swahili make-up that would best suit my yellow-skinned little sister. A funny guy he was, but he was really helpful in the bargaining process at the Daraja Market where locals do their shopping at friendly prices. We had to make sure that we had Tanzanian currency to access goods or services and we had done this as soon as we arrived at Kisauni Airport. Also, we were advised to keep watch of our money as the market is busy with activity, hence easy location for pick-pockets; merchants following potential buyers in the streets, motorbikes hooting for way, vendors unpacking fresh catch from the sea, children running around and the jobless corner with individuals offering shopping-errand services in exchange for money. It seems crazy but funny at the same time for I thought that I had transposed to a typical Indian market. Luckily, we had a great shopping experience with great buys at awesome bargains. My family members now have something cool from Zanzibar and I was lucky enough to actually find a lovely dress that touches my toes, which is often a shopping challenge for me in Nairobi!

 

Hard to Say Goodbye

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Sea Cliff Resort & Spa in Zanzibar

As I sat down on the terrace, enjoying my last moments at the hotel, I decided to post a Trip Advisor travel review about my amazing Zanzibar experience. Whether they approve it or not, all I know is that one has to experience it personally to understand the emotional attachment triggered by this little island of mine – my island of escape to great adventure. You bet I’ll be back!

PS: This post had to come early, I couldn’t wait 🙂

Yours Truly,

Ayuma.

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