Call operator with passion for beads
“Thank you for calling Machakos helpline, my name is Faith Mwikali, what’s your emergency?”
That’s the response you hear when you dial 112 or 999 at the emergency centre.
As NairobiNews found out, in spite of coping with the most desperate situation of receiving calls when someone needs an ambulance, help from police or fire brigade; 27-year-old Ms Mwikali has the passion and time for making African jewellery which she started in 2012.
One day as she visited Kampala, the telephone operator was egged on when she saw a lady wearing jewellery made from paper beads.
The design pleased her and so she asked the lady how they are made and the materials used.
“She was kind to explain to me how to make them,” she said.
When she returned to Kenya, she sought more information on paper beads on the internet before starting out.
Her biggest challenge was making people accept her products since most Kenyans prefer imported ones.Lack of staff has also impeded production and often times she finds herself not meeting clients’ deadlines.
However, she always calls them to notify them of the delay.Ms Mwikali markets her products via her Facebook page -Faith’s African Jewelry, twitter and Google Plus accounts.
For Nairobi clients, she makes deliveries but after placing an order.
For clients outside the city, she sends collective orders via courier.
Prices vary according to design and size. For instance, necklaces cost between Sh250 and Sh150. Earrings go for Sh150, bracelets cost betweenSh150 and Sh300; rings cost Sh150 -Sh250, headbands are Sh200 – Sh350 and anklets cost Sh100.
She earns between Sh10,000 to Sh15,000 a month.
Juggling between her main job and her passion can be difficult but she found away to balance the two. Her plan is to hire 10 staff as well as go global.
‘’I’m targeting clients from UK, US and Paris. I have friends there who are doing marketing research,’’ said the former Kenya Institute of Management student.