Increase my raw materials inventory for my soap business

Nicholas Mwiti

Nairobi, Kenya

100% paid forward



Nicholas Mwiti

Member since

December 2014

On-time repayments

98 installments  •  41%

About Me

I am a young ambitious IT professional in Nairobi-Kenya and I have always had a passion to venture into the cottage industry. I have a bachelor’s degree in IT and have a temporary day job but I know that in I cannot transfer my degree to my son or daughter, however, if I successfully built a business empire, I can teach my children and leave them with a legacy to help then sustain their livelihoods as well as benefit the generations to come.
The cottage industry in Kenya is largely untapped, with mostly foreigners who have the financial muscle to start large industries taking advantage of the highly uncompetitive industry to produce this highly used commodity. In Kenya, soap has become one of the fastest moving and widely used commodity after cooking oil and salt. The soap-making industry has been dominated by less than 10 players for decades (mostly oil refinery companies since they already have the main soap-making ingredient, cooking oil.
Even so, the high demand from the vast Kenyan population of over 52 million people has stretched these companies hence the reason why they have been propelled into prominence. Assuming that every Kenyan takes a bath at least once a day, and does home laundry at least twice weekly, then you don’t need to be a great mathematician to guess the enormous amount of cash that Kenyans spend on only 10 soap brands. In short, the business is very lucrative even for new entrants like me.

I started the business of soap making last year (March 2021, but the business was not operational until July) mainly because I had (still do have) a big challenge of raising enough capital to buy the necessary equipment and raw materials. A plodder alone costs between KES 350,000 – 500,000, then you need some more money to purchase a three roll miller, (KES 400,000), cutting machine (KES 250,000), Stamping machine (KES 50,000), Automatic labeling and wrapping machine (KES650,000) and other auxiliary equipment like conveyors, vacuum pump, embossing/stamping moulds, etc. In total, to install a complete bar soap production line, you need a capital base of around KES 3 Million! (Conversion rate: 1 USD = KES 110)

However, after consulting with the professionals in the industry, I was advised that I could start off with as little as KES 30,000 ($270). I started by taking baby steps (comparing it to a marathon and not a 100 meters sprint), by starting small, making a lot of mistakes, and learning in the process as I grow.
I started off by buying a few basic pieces of equipment like a scale, a manual sealing machine, a thermometer, a locally fabricated soap mould, and start-up raw materials to make a few dozen of bar soap.

My Business

I currently have two brands in the market; a multi-purpose laundry bar soap and an organic rice soap and I intend to expand to other products like medicated soap, powder detergents, hand wash, shampoos, bleaching agents, and other industrial household chemicals like toilet cleaners, etc.

On average, I produce one carton (12 bar soaps each) per day, making a gross sales of $12 (approx. $240 per month. After expenses (raw materials $160, water and electricity bill $10 per month). My net profit is approx. $70. I use some of the profits to feed my family, pay my kids' school fees, and the rest, I use to buy more ingredients.

Project Proposal

Currently, because of lack of enough capital to buy raw materials in large quantities (which should be saving me some cash if I bought in wholesale), I usually buy the ingredients like the palm and tallow oils, caustic soda, and Sodium Silicate in small quantities to produce a few cartons of soap, then I go out and sell, get back the capital, then buy more materials.
As mentioned above, this is a big disadvantage for me because I am buying ingredients at retail prices since I can’t afford to buy in bulk. I also end up spending more in terms of transport costs and time wasted to be going to the market every few days.
I, therefore, need your financial support to purchase more raw materials to increase my soap production capacity hence make more profit.
The loan will go towards the purchase of 18.5kg of Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda), a drum of palm oil and 20kg of Tallow oil all which have currently run out of, then the remaining amount I can buy a few bottles of additives (color and fragrance).





Project Info

Project Type

Pay It Forward

Disbursed amount


Date disbursed

May 24, 2023


Vincent Kasina

Nairobi, Kenya

Michael Nduta

Nairobi, Kenya

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Sep 2, 2023

    Thank you lenders for this support. I will put the funds into good use to increase my inventory. This will increase my profits and I will be able to move to the next step in my business

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  • Annisa Febrinda    Aug 28, 2023

    Good job

    Translated by Google     Show original

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Aug 17, 2023

    Thank you my lenders for your last funding. I am slowly but surely making positive steps toward achieving my dreams of making soaps and detergents that become household names within Kenya and beyond.

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    May 24, 2023

    Thank you lenders for funding my project. I am so grateful for this support because now I will be able to increase the inventory of my business and be in a position to serve my customers even better. I sure wouldn't be able to achieve this without you. God bless

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    May 4, 2023

    Thank you my lenders for my last loan. The funds helped me purchase more inventory for my business which in turn increased my production and I was able to fulfill more orders than before. I wouldn't have achieved that milestone without your kind help. Thanks again.

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Mar 25, 2023

    Thanks a lot my lenders.

    With the funds, I will be able to expand my soap business by buying more raw materials in larger quantities hence enjoy wholesale prices which will in turn increase my profits.

    Thanks for making me realise my dream.

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Dec 3, 2022

    Thank you my supporters for the previous loan. I managed to increase my inventory to make more soap.

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Apr 10, 2022

    Thank you lenders for my previous loan. With your support, I was able to increase my inventory for my soap business. My limit is still small, and I'd love to be funded again to increase my stock

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  • Mimi Rothschild    Mar 30, 2022

    God Bless!
    Romans 8:28

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Mar 30, 2022

    Thank you my lender once again for funding my previous project.

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Feb 26, 2022

    Thanks a lot to my lenders who funded my last loan, I am grateful because now I will be able to purchase the RAM for my laptop to enable me to work without problems.

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Feb 8, 2019

    I have cleared my loan balance but it's not reflecting in my account

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Apr 26, 2016

    My business has improved and I am now able to pay speed up my payments and finish my loan

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Aug 13, 2015

    I managed to pay two installments today. My business is slowing picking up. I'll clear the arrears in my subsequent payments

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  • Esther Wanjiru    Aug 1, 2015

    I spoke to Nicholas today and he told me that he has been experiencing low sales in his business. He however promised to clear his arrears on Tuesday next week. Thank you for your patience.

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Jun 27, 2015

    With the photocopier machine i bought, i am able to serve more customers and my business is picking much better than I thought. I am grateful to the Zidisha community and particularly to my lenders

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Mar 18, 2015

    I invested most of my returns to expand the business by buying new inventory and my customers have already started buying so I expect next month things to go back to normal.

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Mar 10, 2015

    Dear Lenders,
    I am so sorry, i was not able to pay last week's installment due to some unavoidable circumstances. My son fell ill suddenly and i used all the money i had collected to pay hospital bill. I also closed the business for 3 days due to the same. I plan to pay this week in arrears. I opened the business today

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Feb 17, 2015

    Hi Lenders and Zidisha team,

    Kindly fund my second loan to achieve my dreams because my first loan I paid timely and also I gave back to the community by inviting trustworthy friends.

    However, I have this issue of my business photo not appearing. I had put my business photo but its strange its has been showing the first photo when I joined Zidisha instead of current as a result my Lenders have not funded my loan. All my photos are available if you click next on the profile photo. This is something beyond my control.

    Nicholas Mwiti

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  • Nicholas Mwiti    Feb 16, 2015

    This valentine, I took my family to the national park. It was a day full of fun

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