The youth in Kenya have decided that joining hands and starting up companies of their own is the only way to beat unemployment in the country. Mohamed Awale is one Kenyan who is one young man who has proven that one can turn rags to a company.
Awale is the CEO of Suave Ke, a brand that basically makes bags using second hand clothes from Gikomba. Who would even have thought of something like that? Well, Awale did and he’s proud of this brand. Let’s just say he has a pretty creative mind.
In an interview with Adelle Onyango on Breakfast With the Stars, Awale talked about how the idea behind the brand and how he has managed to keep it afloat.
“We make our bags from up-cycled fabric, so we turn clothes to bags. We go to Gikomba market more or less every week to get the clothes. I was 25 when I decided to take this path,” Awale explained.
Starting off was not easy, but some way some how, the brand is know across the country. He went ahead to explain how he used to go to Gikomba a lot and the idea just popped and he was like why not turn these clothes to bags. So when they went to the tailors to share the idea, they thought it wouldn’t be possible since they were used to making leather bags.
It took them almost three months to get what they wanted, even though it wasn’t as cute. But hey, we start from somewhere, right?
When asked how the journey was he said, “Everyone was against it including the employees at the shop. At that time I didn’t think much about it, I just dived in and started. It was also not easy to keep it afloat, and so my parents helped me out a bit. It got to a point my mum sat me down and told me the idea might not work but I told her to give me just three months to see how it goes. And three months after that we are here now. We were even featured on CNN.”
He went ahead to add, “It takes time for people to buy local products, but we’ve got to a point where people have identified some products. People need to be wowed by something so as to talk about it and end up buying.”
Watch the full interview below: