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In this issue, we met with Shaban Rajab, a young fashion designer. He is the sole owner of Shavachie Designs, a growing clothing line in Kenya. Shaban is among the few Kenyans who are earning money from following their dreams and using their passion. He started designing clothes when he was a kid. After his high school education, he immediately started doing arts for different people. That didn’t work out as much but he still continued doing it.

He got into fashion design by helping his mother who had a tailoring shop. He also asked some of the tailors in his mother’s shop about how to create different designs. From the knowledge he got, he started doing different designs for himself. He decided to merge his skill in sewing with art. People started getting interested in what he was doing and soon he was receiving orders from different clients around his hood. The business slowly grew and in 2017 he decided to take off as an entrepreneur.

He bought a sewing machine and started creating his own designs – better than what he was doing previously. Shaban admits his love for art motivated him and enabled him to expand his business even more. He has managed to work with big names by designing their clothes. Some of these names include Maina Kageni, Decimal Records, Voodoo and Guru Gang. He attributes his success to passion. He says that without it one can never make it in entrepreneurship. This is because it’s the spark that enables one to wake up in the morning and go to work. The other thing he credits for his success is referrals.

Shaban states that the attires he makes for people not only impress the ones wearing them but also others who then refer their friends to the tailor and so the pattern continues. Each and every hustle has a challenge. Shaban clearly outlines some that he has faced through his quest to create world-class designs. Acquiring fabric is one of the biggest challenges in the fashion design industry.

This is because most of the fabric used is mostly imported from abroad. Importing the fabric normally takes a long time and sometimes what one orders might not be what is imported. This leads to a delay in making something that might have been urgently needed by a client. Shaban, however, offers a solution; getting the right people to do the importing job for you. The other issue in the fashion design industry is the brokers in it. As much as connections might be important if the people benefiting from one deal are too many then that depletes the profit in the business.

Shaban tells The Outsyder that if he has the ability to deal with the client one on one then that is what he does. Eliminating the middlemen is always the key to success in a business. Shaban’s advice to the youth is that the fashion design industry is one that is never going to die easily. If one has a passion for the trade then they should get any means to start. This is because it’s not a trade that requires a lot of money to get started. One can even work from home as they grow the business.


For more information on the grind grab a copy of The Outsyder in The Nairobian every Friday.

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