Small time tailor with good CV
From his modest corner at Biashara stalls in the CBD and surrounded by flower vendors, Frank Twite is big among big names.
A small time tailor, the Congolese specialises in creating garments from African print fabrics like the kitenge for both men and women. He makes dresses, tops, trousers and suits.
Initially, with a sewing machine valued at only Sh4,500 and an iron box, he set out to build a name for himself and rented a space at the exhibition hall that he still uses.
“I started sewing 17 years ago and Kitenge garment designs are my speciality. I also do office and home décor, especially fabric decorating including window furnishing, seat covers and many others,” he said.
Many would consider this job small time with no substantial income. Twite, however, broke all barriers to get to the top.
“I have been dressing Ms Mary Okello, the director of Makini Group of Schools for more than 10 years. I make her the vitenges she is usually seen with,” said Twite.
He buys about 40 swathes of kitenge fabric at Sh1,000 twice every and after complete designing and sewing, kitenge dresses go for between Sh3,000 and Sh4,500.
House furnishing costs between Sh,4500 and Sh10,000.
He has retained most of his customers because of his quality work. They include big names in the education, entertainment and government circles.
Aside from dressing prominent personalities, he also does interior décor fabric furnishings on order.
He has so far done all the fabric jobs in Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo’s office and that of his assistant. He has decorated the inside walls of the 20th Century Cinema Plaza in the CBD and made all the staff uniforms at the Palma Hotel owned by a Senator in Nairobi.
“I used to be employed elsewhere but I felt my creative capabilities were being stifled so I saved and begun this business. I bought three other machines and here I am today getting something decent,” said Twite.
In a month, he earns an average of Sh35,000 if the orders come in plenty but the money goes as low as Sh25,000 when the business is not doing so well. And this is just from making clothes.
His personal profit at the end of the month after deducting salary and reinvesting in his business is about Sh10,000.
For the home and office decors, he charges by the volume of work ordered and what exactly a client wants furnished. From this, he earns an additional average income of between Sh30,000 and Sh50,000 if the orders are lucrative.