As the typical campus student anticipates the weekend to party and hang out with friends, Sharon Gicheru is working overtime to meet her client’s orders, most of them her fellow students at the University of Nairobi, Main campus.
Sharon, 23, is the CEO of her budding business – Scarves by Sha – and she dresses the part in a flowing purple dress accessorized by a flowery mustard yellow scarf.
‘Shazzy’, as she is commonly known by clients and school mates, narrates how she shifted her passion and love of fashion to a growing small enterprise.
“I have always been curious and interested in fashion and style since I was a kid and used to even borrow my mummy’s necklaces and rings just to pose with them, but it’s early this year that I decided to go commercial after so many requests from my friends whom I had earlier given scarves as gifts,” Shazzy explains, and with the help of her sister and her mother, Scarves by Sha was born.
The third year Journalism and Media student says she tries to match the preferences of her customers but it can be a challenge.
“Sometimes a client may want an exact duplicate item of another which I may not have but I try to get for them one that is close to it,” says Shazzy.
But within the relatively short time of 10 months, her ‘little thing’ as she prefers to call it has continued to grow to the point of attracting Kenyan celebrities like JB (Masanduku Junior) who is an ardent follower of her works.
“I met JB at an event and when I showed him some of my pieces, he really liked them and bought a piece for his girlfriend. Since then, he has bought several,” Shazzy says with a smile.
She is also aware of the price-sensitive factor of her main clientele. Her scarves go for Sh200 while necklaces range from Sh300-2500 with the highest item she has sold going for Sh4,000. She sources ideas and inspiration from as far as the US where a friend sends pictures of scarves which she can select from.
Shazzy’s profits vary from month to month, but on a good month, she pockets close to Sh10,000
Her accessories venture has grown mostly out of word of mouth, but she also uses her face book page “shazzy gicheru” to reach more people.
She aspires to dress TV queen Namtero Mdee whom they resemble, somewhat. Shazzy gets inspiration from international fashion icon, Heidi Klum. She is fuses international styles with Kenyan tastes to create a high-breed masterpiece.
Her business will not stop with the scarves. She plans to bring in designer make up from Maybelline- New York by January, making her the ultimate fashion stop over.
So how does she juggle her time for study and business?
“It can be tricky but thank God I love school and studying. I’m organized and strictly follow my timetable and therefore manage both well.”
In her free time the promising fashion designer loves to swim and shake a leg to the tune of Salsa as she sips her favorite drink of cold mango juice or white coffee.