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My artistic mind has paid off

Reading and writing are strenuous tasks for Mr Kennedy Ojiko, who did not have much of an education, but that has never deterred him from reaching his goals and surpassing them.

With the basic Kiswahili and English that he knows, Mr Ojiko, can hold a conversation and do business, though slowly.

He may not speak fluently but Mr Ojiko is a talented craftsman. And using his hands and creativity he comes up with unique artifacts whose market goes beyond Kenya.

After eight years in employment, Mr Ojiko left to concentrate on independent projects which could give him room to explore his creativity and put food on his table, he said.

With the massive experience he had from Christine and Jayson workshop in Karen and from Made in Kenya Company where he had been employed, he was confident to explore the world.

“From my job, I used to make Sh28,000 a month,” he said.

“I felt underpaid since I could not equate the pay with the workload,” he added.

Quitting was inevitable after he figured out that all he needed was bench grinder machines since he had already learnt the skills of making ornaments and where to source raw materials.

With his two employees, Mr Ojiko now makes bronze and bone jewellery, which he decorates with beautiful designs.

He comes up with various designs- and draws them with the help of his staff.

They use bench grinders to sharpen, smooth and draw shapes on the bones and bronze.

With his metalsmith techniques, he is able to cut various shapes of ornaments from the large pieces of bronzesheets.

Metal ornaments are in high demand and he knows it — so he makes more of them.

Sketches

One of the workers decorates and draws sketches, polishes and assembles the necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Mr Ojiko sells most of his products in Poland to his client, Laura with whom he teamed up from the beginning of his business. He exports huge consignments to Poland once every two weeks.

From each consignment, he makes between Sh200,000 and Sh400,000. The clients sometimes send designs for Mr Ojiko’s team to make and sell to them.

His other major clients include a South American, Tanzanian and ShopSoko, an online shop. They also sell at Maasai Market.

ShopSoko has been instrumental in growing the business, Mr Ojiko says. Besides giving him regular orders, ShopSoko enables him to market and sell his artwork worldwide.

“Although I have a constant flow of clients outside Kenya once in a while I receive small orders that cost about Sh75,000 to make jewellery for local people here and I don’t ignore them,” he said.

On average, he sells a bracelet at Sh800, earrings at Sh700 and a necklace at Sh2,000.