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Computer geek with an artistic streak

Ken Karangi is a website programmer of a kind. When he isn’t in front of his computer, you will find him busy doing his second passion — design. In fact, his passions merge perfectly.

For as long as he can remember, Kevin loved creating things, and while pursuing his undergraduate studies at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, spent his free time drawing and making customised cards for his classmates.

Last April, he saw a wall clock online and decided to try and replicate it. His material of choice was mahogany.

He drew the design and created the art work. He later bought a plain clock and, using its engine parts and his customised mahogany clock face, created a replica of the product he had seen on the net within a week.

He had not considered this a business venture until his friends began asking him where he had bought it. The 26-year-old responded by making a few copies for them. Word spread around and barely two months since he had mounted the clock on his living room wall, he received about 40 orders for the same.

Not letting this opportunity go to waste, in July, he wrote a business plan and registered his company, By Hand Products. When he resumed work, he recruited his younger brother to run things on his behalf.

Owing to his background in technology, he opts for online marketing which he said was effective and did not need active participation.

From 8am to 5pm, Ken constructs and modifies websites for his boss then draws clocks in the evening and on weekends. He sells each clock for between Sh2,700 and Sh4,000. Eight months after take off, By Hand Products is a source of livelihood for three other people.

He uses perspex, a shatter resistant material, on the clock faces.