170 installments • 81%
I am Joyce Gicheru. Many love calling me 'Joy' because I'm always smiling.. Born slightly more than three decades ago in a small village sandwiched between many hills. I went to school in the neighborhood and despite the fact that my parents were poor,I managed to beat all odds to excel in my studies.
Those days, only a lucky few had electricity connections to their homes. I wont say we were unlucky but we didn't have this rare privilege. The most memorable occasion was a day we ran out of kerosene and I had to do my school homework using the light from firewood. More often than not, kerosene to light the lamp and do homework was always a tall order. I still believed my dreams were valid.
I excelled very well and by God's grace,I graduated with a degree years later. I live and work in Nairobi,Kenya. Professionally a High School Graduate Teacher and a part-time businessperson. My spouse and I have some businesses. One dealing with supply of fresh beans to export companies the other is a beauty shop combined with new clothes and an Mpesa. In our bid to create employment and to expand our businesses, we were looking for extra funding which would fulfill our dream. After weighing several options and widely consulting from friends, someone referred me to Zidisha as among the best. Then I decided to give it a try.
I'm glad Zidisha gave me my first loan three years ago. I used the loan to expand my beauty shop,added clothes and put up Mpesa money agency. Through the profit I made,I was able to repay the loan in good time. I reapplied and got another one worth $800 that I used to further expand my business.
As a matter of fact, 2017 has been an economically hard year in Kenya and we had to push through with unusually low earnings. Sometimes it became hard to regularly pay the instalments but I finally made it to clear the loan.
I'm glad that I've transformed the area in which I work they're able to access basic house use items easily at my shop. They are also able to access financial services without travelling very far. I also stock school uniforms and stationery. This means that school children can access what they need whenever there's need. I'm also happy that I've given livelihood to families that rely on me. All thanks to God who has been my strength and Zidisha for the financial support.
ABOUT MY BUSINESS. My business name is EverThree Beauty Point,Clothing and Accessories. 5 years ago when I reported to my place of work,I needed to buy a few household utilities for my use. I had not carried any because I assumed I'd buy when I got there. Surprisingly enough,I could not find most of the items I needed. I was very disappointed. I finally had to solicit for a washing basin from my new neighbor to facilitate a few important tasks around the house. It was that bad! The following day, I decided to go to Nairobi and do the purchases,but I decided that for every item I needed,I'd pick a dozen. This meant I would get a better deal in terms of price. And yes,I did that. I picked all I wanted. I only chose a few for personal use and sold the rest. Voila!
I made money.
So now people would come to my house asking whether I had certain items. I had to open a small shop. That's how my business came along. I have currently employed two young ladies who I picked from some poor families around. Through this venture, I have been able to supplement my family's income, pay my two assistants,and I've made the area a better place than I found it.
I now want to expand my business to supply affordable solar products to this community.
Most of them struggle to get proper lighting facilities and also they have no place to charge their phones.
The package I want to stock has bulbs enough for five rooms, a phone charger, a 40 watts solar panel, a battery, smart TV, radio and torch.
To get and start using this package, they only need to pay a small deposit then pay the rest of the money in adjustable installments. Some pay daily, others weekly or monthly depending on ability.
Once they finish paying the whole amount, they own the product and no more power bills for them- forever.
I've already sold dozens of units and I need more stock to serve more people.
I'm glad I've put a smile on somebody's face as they can charge their phone conveniently, light their houses, watch news, listen to the radio and ultimately reduce their bills.
It is a big issue especially in the current age when you have no electric power in your home. About 80% of Kenyans can now afford a mobile phone. Its a real challenge if you have a phone and when the battery goes low you have to walk for a kilometer or more to have it charged. It wastes time,it's expensive (you have to pay), not to mention the inconvenience caused if you need to make or receive calls when you don't have the phone with you.
Again,I came to realise that the use of kerosene lamp as a lighting source is very expensive. It doesn't give enough light. It's also a health hazard to the users because it emits poisonous smoke. The smoke affects the lungs.
I've always wanted to bring an alternative safe and affordable source of lighting to these neighborhoods that can hardly afford electric power connections. In the last few months, I happened to come across a company that supplies solar lights. The payment allows the client to pay in small weekly or monthly instalments until the client clears the debt.
The package contains a solar panel,5 bulbs,a rechargeable torch and radio and a 5in1 phone charger. That was basically what I had had in mind. Its an 'all under one roof' kind of package. Excellent.
I sourced for 5 units and I started looking for clients. I targeted those that used kerosene lamps for lighting. In a weeks' time all lamps were bought. They could charge their phones from home,all their rooms were brightly lit, they no longer relied on kerosene. My clients were very happy. I was happy too.
I went for more units but I'm not able to satisfactorily meet demand for these lamps at the moment. I have erected some outlets in different areas to help me supply to many people. I therefore need more stock.
With the funding I get from my lenders,I will use it to buy more solar units. One unit costs $12 at wholesale price. So with $960 it will be possible to buy 80 units for sale. A single unit gives me a return of $4. If I sell a minimum of 2 units daily,I'll get $56 weekly. This is enough to repay my loan,pay my workers,and also foot my bills.
I end there hoping that my lenders find this project a worthwhile venture. I'm
positive that together we shall transform the society and make the world a better place as we look forward to conserve the environment by use of green energy.
May 4, 2018