Making money from her hobby
Tabitha is a first-year student at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology undertaking a degree in horticulture management. A naturally creative person, she started making flower vases in September as a way of keeping herself busy and to beautify her home.
“I learned how to make vases by watching YouTube videos, which I came across as I was looking for home décor ideas. I honed my skills with each vase I made. Sooner, I was getting orders from friends and neighbors who fell in love with the flower vases,” she says.
She uses cement and clothing such as t-shirts or towels to make the vases. The fabric is then dipped in wet cement and then shaped in the form of a vase. “The cloth has to be good quality and slightly thick. If it’s large, I cut it into the size I want and dip it in the cement mix. Then I let it soak up before putting it in a container and shaping it accordingly,” she says.
After shaping the soaked fabric, she waits three days for the cement to dry, after which she spray-paints the vase according to her customer’s preference and delivers to them. Initially, her clients comprised only of family and friends; however, with the help of social media marketing and word-of-mouth recommendations, she is now getting orders beyond her inner circle and expanding her business.
“The vases come in different shapes and sizes. The small vases go for Ksh500 ($5), the medium ones go for Ksh650 ($6.5) and the biggest ones go for Ksh800 ($8),” she reveals. For an additional charge, she also includes artificial plants to go with the vase and is currently experimenting with more designs in order to diversify her products. At the moment, she is managing the business with the help of a cousin.
Tabitha delivers the vases to clients at an agreed-upon location to ensure that the transportation costs do not affect the overall profit. Also, due to COVID-19, she asks her clients to pay via a mobile currency app so as to avoid money exchanging hands. So far, Tabitha has sold more than 15 vases and she expects this number to grow as more and more people learn about her venture.
Tabitha is grateful for the opportunity to make money out of her hobby, telling us, “This venture has helped me to understand the dynamics of running one’s own business. I’m sure what I’m learning now will help me in the future!”