Olivia Mukora is a final year Journalism and Mass Communication student at Nairobi University. She spoke to Varcity on her passion for design and how she manages to juggle this alongside music and writing.
How and when did you start designing bags?
I started way back in 2013 that time making Accessories such as Bangles and Hair ties. I only did as a hobby because my mum is a tailor/designer so I got interested even though I did not take it serious. As I grew to like design I found myself starting to do more hence I started making small purses. I could sometimes use materials from my mum’s shop to make them. As 2014 approached I begun making even more purses and it led me into designing bags.
What materials do you use in designing bags?
Material depends on what the customer requests. The whole idea behind my business is “Be your own Designer” which means that I use materials that are connected to my clients taste. I use Khaki, Denim, Leather, Plastic and sometimes old Tshirts to design these bags.
How do you decide on the selling price?
Price varies according to material and size. A backpack will cost more compared to say a purse or the small stringed bags. If the client wants a bigger bag then they will have to part with more money to acquire their product. Material used also determines the final selling price. Leather is more expensive than Jeans so it will cost more if used on a bag.
If a client wants to order for a certain bag design how do they do it?
In the past I have had friends who referred their other friends to me. It has gone on and spread to other people I did not know who have ordered their design just because they heard it from someone else. Right now I have a Facebook page called Livs Collection where interested clients can make their orders. I also have a website www.livscollection.com where you can visit and check out various designs. My Instagram page livs_collection also has pictures of bags I have designed.
Do you offer delivery services or have a shop where they can get them?
Currently I do free deliveries if the client is in town. I can easily access the CBD so I do it for free but if the order is out then I charge 200 for delivery. I don’t have a particular shop as of now so I still share with my mum and I also have another tailor who helps me out.
How has the Journey been since you started?
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. It requires risks and more of them. Most people do not like risking. I can use my business as an example where sometimes the money you are making comes in less and you might give up. There is also a peak season where you might lose your head due to more money coming in. Its about being level headed and knowing your clients’ needs.
What is your advice to other Small Business Entrepreneurs?
Research. Most people start off their business just because someone else is doing it or just because the product is selling at that time. Research is the best option when starting up. Know your product and the target market. I always try to be up to date with the latest designs because my clientele keeps changing. And also the more you risk, the more profit you make.
You are a writer and a musician too, how do you manage this?
I slot every task with its correct time. I am not the type of person to do more of one task and leave the other one abandoned. I always follow my heart and do what is tells me at that time. I do music when I have gigs and sometimes for fun. I am also a writer and when it comes to it I do my best too.
If you were to chose one hustle to stick with what would it be?
I write because its related to my course work at school. I design because I have passion for it. I do music because I love it. All three of the above bring in money even though bag designs bring in more. Everything has its pros and cons so I would stick with all of them.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I like to live in the moment and do what has to be done now, but I want to first have my own shop. I would also love to create a solid brand for my bag designs and expand my clientele. I also have a problem with consistency and that is something I would love to work on.