My name is Wairimu Kariuki and I sold sandwiches today. It was amazing and unplanned. I LOVED IT.
The plan for Monday 6th July 2015 was to attend, with my fellow Lapid Leaders, an Young Entrepreneurship Expo at KICC Nairobi, organized by our good friend David Kyallo. We arrived there early in the morning, set up our Lapid stand at the tent area and proceeded to mingle with other entrepreneurs, checking out the fun tents and taking turns manning our stand( Really, Esther we did!).
My buddy and partner in crime for the day, Tabasamu, got particularly intrigued with the BeeMakers stand so off we went to ooh and aaah. While Tabasamu went off asking all her questions about bees, honey and all things wax (must be the Kao in her), I kept on looking at the guy, wondering how many times he’s been stung! Jokes aside though, these guys are the real deal.
They set up the hive for, trap the bees or alternatively bring hive and bees together, after two months you ‘harvest’ your honey, get your wax for sale and the process is quite labour free, meaning it can be done as an extra source of income or side hustle. Some have taken this to the next level and are doing big business, read their story here. We went on to visit several other tents.
By this time, it’s fast approaching lunchtime and I notice there is no food stand at the expo! There must be some catering plan in the works. While I silently admonish myself for not doing a snacks tent (I afterall run a healthy foods shop), I find myself in the middle of a crisis meeting with the ‘food committee”(read, Esther, Ruthie, David and I atop the steps near Tsavo Ballroom). We proceed to make last minute attempts to get an outside caterer on ONE HOUR notice, and after politely scoffing at the sheer madness of our requests we all get resounding, “hiyo haiwezekani” and “ata si mngepiga asubuhi sana” etc.
Then Esther, decides to throw me into the deep end. “Wairimu, si you do for us sandwiches.” Everyone looks at me. I was there during registration, I know there must be over 300 delegates attending the conference, but I ask anyway, “For how many guys?” “Like 100.” Madness! I don’t even have a bread knife. But, I have Mpesa and I am in the middle of town, there is Uchumi down the road (bread, ham, mayonnaise, ketchup, clingfilm, serviettes, paper plates) heck, even tomatoes and lettuce. And 3 or 4 Lapid Leaders. Ok, It can be done So we do.
In between Eugene and Timo running to Uchumi to get the supplies for me; and June, Leah, Joan, Mercy Maina and Norah helping me make the sandwiches and later sell them, I was an entrepreneur that day. I saw a need in the space I was in and I provided a solution.
There was a lot of running around involved, literally, had to change from heels to sandals, but also there was a lesson.
- Team effort-My fellow Lapid Leaders were quick learners and rose to the occasion with me.
- Grab opportunities- where there is a need, entrepreneurship is about providing a solution to it.
- Start- with what you have, I didn’t have all the things I would have wanted but I had quite a few and I made do.
- Of course I cannot forget the investor who became interested in my venture, and not to mention that I met a yoghurt supplier for my business. They loved my seize-and-grab-opportunity attitude and we got to discussing partnerships.
This day gave me a rush and it opened my eyes to selling at events/expos in addition to my shop. Here’s to jumping into the deep end, kicking and drinking some water, but swimming in the end.