Nairobi News

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Graphic designer with a taste for liquor

At his day job, Andrew Kioko’s title is graphic designer. He designs layouts for journals, corporate reports and develops visual material for the company website.

On some evenings and weekends, he manages his wines and spirits business in Isinya, Kajiado County.

The 33-year-old who likes referring to himself as a graphic artist, loves design and software. 

Kioko said that while he enjoys passing messages using colour, photography and animation after about five years on the job, he felt a need to start something on the side for extra cash.

Absentee run

After months of exploring different business ideas, he settled on the wines and spirits trade because he saw his parents successfully run such a venture and it could also be absentee run.

After registering his business Beach Pub, Kioko set about studying the neighbourhood to find his clients’ preferences. 

He practically went round to all his potential competitors, buying drinks and noting down the things that he liked and those he didn’t. 

Next, he looked into the distributors to see who could best meet his business needs.

The designer used his savings from his day job to set up his store and buy his first batch of liquor.

His main challenge he said, was the competition he faced from other bars and retail sections in the area especially in the first months.

It took him at least four months of dipping deep into his pockets before his business could start generating profits to keep it afloat.

Kioko cannot be there all day every day to manage the business and it took him some time to find workers that he could trust and also with product knowledge. 

The liquor business, he said, is very risky but if you have a viable plan and remain disciplined, it has great rewards.

Fortunately, he’s an occasional drinker and keeping himself disciplined has not been hard. 

He, however, makes a conscious effort to stay in the know regarding his clients’ changing needs.