By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Simon Njenga was born and raised in the village of Githunguchu in Kenya. He worked his way through both primary and secondary school but shares that he certainly had a rough childhood. Fortunately, that was just the beginning of his story, with a future full of promise ahead of him. After finishing school, his older brother gave him $10 to start a business. With that $10 investment, he has now been able to keep his business going for the past 10 years.
Simon shares that his relationship with his customers is a big key to his success in business. By building long-term relationships, he has been able to build mutual trust. Through his business he is able to pay his children’s school fees and continue to re-invest in his business by continually adding more stock. In addition, he has also been able to improve his home and he shares, ‘most importantly,’ by providing shoes and clothing for a nearby children’s home.
Since Simon runs a shoes and clothing business, having enough stock on hand to meet the needs of his customers is a key ingredient of success. Since partnering with Zidisha in 2017, Simon has successfully raised 7 Zidisha funded loans!
With his first loan of $100 in September 2017, Simon was able to receive his loan just in time for the back to school demand, which is huge for him, being in the retail clothing business. During this time of year, he generally has an abundance of clothing orders from customers, which is great, but also requires additional up front capital.
With his following loan, of $198 in October 2017, he was set to add some specific items to his product mix, including converse shoes and mens jeans and shirts.
As the new year rolled around in January 2018, it was time for a surge in stock, as the local schools would be heading back into session, after the holidays. With a $344 loan from Zidisha lenders, Simon purchased a variety of black shoes as well as socks, as this is an item that most students need for school. He predicted that he would be able to make a profit of $2.50 on each pair of shoes sold.
A few months later, with a loan of $413 from Zidisha lenders, Simon was able to add some additional clothing and shoes to his business stock. He focused on shoes, sports shoes, and baby shoes. After being in business for almost a decade, Simon had the advantage of knowing his business, customers, and what to have in stock for different seasons of the year.
While 2018 came to a close, Simon was ready for one of the busiest business seasons of the year. He was able to raise $455 in September and $323 in December, allowing him to add more goods of shoes and trousers to his stock.
Most recently, in March 2019, Simon once again successfully raised $296 from lenders, putting him in a good financial position to add more mens and women’s shoes to his stock.
While Simon is a wonderful businessman on his own, it’s amazing the impact that he’s been able to make in his community since joining Zidisha. On May 5, 2019, he took to his discussion page and shared with lenders, ‘Good afternoon. It’s a good Sunday that I’m writing to thanks you for your support in my business. My business has been good since you started support in me. Thanks in advance.’
Not only has business been good for Simon, but he’s also been able to make an incredible impact by supporting the local children’s home and providing them with shoes!
Would you like to help an entrepreneur like Simon impact his or her own community? Make sure to head on over to the Browse Projects page to read about our other incredible business owners around the world!