Which is the best business to set up in Eldoret town? Well, most people would say a fast food joint, others would say a Movie/Game joint and all of them are correct, given the right attitude and a good work ethic. However, a huge chunk of people seem to think that the boutique business is the way to go.
If you frequent Eldoret CBD, you must have noticed all manner of conspicuous colored fabric hanging on shop fronts; high heeled shoes for the ladies displayed on shelves and Nike Airmax sneakers for men which seem to be the season favorite.
But, why is that? Why are there so many boutique businesses in Eldoret Town? Why are 80% of the fledgling businesses in Eldoret town boutiques? Could there be something unbeknownst to the public?
The Decline of ‘Mitumba’ Second hand Clothes
On my quest to find straight answers to these questions, I met up with three business owners who shared some insights on the dynamics of the clothing business.
“ The main reason you are seeing a lot of new clothing businesses coming up is majorly because the government is slowly shutting down the second hand clothes business. The ‘Mitumba’ sector is being shut down in phases which has led to a huge decline of imports of second hand clothes to the Kenyan Market. This in turn has caused the mass exodus for second hand clothes vendors to new clothes”
Our source who thought it best to stay anonymous is a seasoned businessman with over ten years in the business. He was previously selling second hand clothes but recently took up new clothes, he adds
“You are likely to see a huge increase in price of ‘Mitumba’ as of next year, the law of supply and demand will come into play. People will eventually have no choice but to buy new clothes.”
Last year Industrialization Principal secretary Wilson Songa said that the Mitumba Ban; which is meant to promote the local textile industry, will be executed in phases. Wilson Songa also stated that the second hand clothes also pose health risk to the people who chose to wear them.
The EAC is also welcoming the move to ban second hand clothes and they are pushing it further to second hand cars as well. This move will only take place when the members of the EAC demonstrate ability to sufficiently address their automobile and clothing needs.
Another second hand clothes vendor had a different view point as regards to the government’s move to ban second hand clothes. Joseph has this to say…
“The government lacks the capacity to provide clothes for the entire country, the Kenyan textile industry can barely supply socks to the entire republic let alone clothes, ‘Mitumba’ will be around for a very long time”
On assessing Joseph’s remarks we have to admit that there is some truth, the government has always threatened a ban on ‘Mitumba’ but has not yet made good their threats.
New Clothes have high profit margins.
The second reason and the most plausible one making boutique business most attractive is the profit margins; new clothes have a very high return on investment. Our third source, one Malcolm Maina had this to say…
“This business is very profitable; I’m able to cater to all my needs through this business. The other good thing is that clothes are not perishable like food is; all you have to do is buy stock get a strategically located shop and start selling. It does not require a lot of man power, the only issue I would say that poses a challenge is keeping up with the trends especially for women’s clothes.”
The boutique business as a provider of basic needs is indeed popular and will continue to flourish, with or without the ban on second hand clothes. This is simply because of the high demand of clothes by the huge population. Eldoret Town as of 2009 was home to a population of over 250,000 people, seven years since the population has increased significantly. Wikipedia has Eldoret Town as the fastest growing town in the entire country which is welcomed news for business people.
Also, Eldoret Town being an Education hub attracts over 6000 students every year from as far as Turkana. This makes it an ideal place to invest not only in the boutique business but other businesses as well.
Do you see this as a business you would like to jump into share your thoughts on our comment section below.