03 Aug 5-Minute Interview With TV Journalist, Charity Kimani
Charity Kimani: Journalist, Mum, TV Producer
One of the things we strive to do as Kipawa Music is celebrate talented people in our industry who are making waves in media, event management, music production, audio-visual sector or entrepreneurship.
The Arts Industry is rapidly growing all over Africa and raising a new generation of influential, inspirational personalities.
These personalities are ambitious, extremely hardworking and determined to carve a niche in specific markets.
One of these individuals is Charity Kimani.
Charity Kimani is a TV Anchor, producer and journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.
She previously held a position in a Baltimore radio station, where she worked in the Sponsorships Department, before relocating back to Kenya, where she held a stint at KTN before venturing into entrepreneuship. Right now as we speak, she manages 3 fast-growing brands in the retail fashion sector.
Since Kipawa Music is heavily involved in media in Nairobi, we sat down to chat with her and find out more about her work in media and entrepreneurship.
Here’s our 5-Minute Interview with Charity Kimani
KM: I see you worked with a Baltimore radio station. Tell us more!
CK: Yes, I worked at 92Q in promotions. I loved it. I got to meet artists and also learned a lot about the industry since this was my first job in Media.
KM: Did you always know you wanted to work with a radio station?
CK: Not really, my passion is TV but when opportunity knocks and it’s in the same field I will definitely take it. Radio is fun but I love a challenge.
KM: Then you came back home and set up a business?
CK: I came home, worked at KTN as a reporter for a couple of years and then ventured into my own businesses.
KM: From radio to interior design? Interesting! How did that happen?
CK: I love business! My brain is always thinking of ways to make more money. So this was very easy for me. I guess so coming from a family where my dad has always had his own businesses I grew up admiring being a boss.
KM: Actually I see you have three brands…
CK: Yes, Interior, Hair, Lingerie and more to come!
KM: What’s the transition like…from employment to running your own business?
CK: It’s hard because with employment you’re guaranteed a salary at the end of the month, with self employment you’re not even sure if you’ll make any sales in that month.
KM: If there was something you wish someone could have told you about running a business back then, what would it be?
CK: Patience is key. If you’re not patient in business you’ll give up really fast.
KM: How many years have you been in active business now?
CK: 5 years.
KM: Does personality play a role in successful entreprenership? Like in your case, are you an outgoing person to whom sales and marketing comes easy or are you the inward melancholic type?
CK: I’m very outgoing and I am also big in marketing but horrible at sales. I guess those two makeup for sales.
KM: Okay let’s talk your brands now…why interior furnishings? Was there a gap in the market, and how did you spot it?
CK: Yes, Kenyans are very good at building luxury mansions but they lack when it comes to interiors. You’ll find a house that looks amazing outside but when you walk in it looks ridiculous. That’s why I started doing interior.
KM: It seems to be a space that’s defined by big brands…is this so or there’s room for other players?
CK: No, there’s room for everyone who has an eye for style, class and detail in terms of interior design.
KM: So what comes first in entrepreneurship in your opinion, spotting a gap in the market or following your passion?
CK: Definitely passion. You can spot a gap but not have the passion for it. That’s why people start businesses all over the place and don’t know how to keep pushing when times get hard because they don’t have the passion.
KM: In my opinion, transitioning from radio to a field like interior design calls for a lot of creativity and a passion for art? Which is why Kipawa Music is interested in your story. Am I right, or it’s purely a commercial decision?
CK: Well, Being in the media industry you definitely are an artist in your own way. All my businesses have links to creativity. It is in my blood.
KM: You have another brand called posh totos? What’s that about?
CK: Posh totos is still a baby. I sell luxury gadgets and stuff for kids. Luxury strollers, luxury car seats etc…
KM: Do you miss radio, or did it happen to be an opportunity that came calling?
CK: I miss the media industry in general. Like I said, I love a challenge and the industry challenges you slot in many ways.
KM: What’s your average day like?
CK: Depends, there’s days I’m so busy I don’t even get time to spend with my daughter and then there’s days I’m just busy looking for what else to start
KM: I think for most entrepreneurs, the starting point is…it’s unpredictable isn’t it? You’re thinking I need finances, or I’m running out of funds, where will I get clients or When will I make my first sale? How did you deal with all those conflicting emotions?
CK: Honestly. I don’t have such thoughts.
There’s so many ways to deal with such things. I always put my trust in God. That’s how I deal with everything and with that it keeps me very calm at all times.
KM: Has that ever happened to you? Where you run out of funds or ideas and you’re like, “I’m at rock bottom!”
CK: Yes, It happens but I always remind myself…this isn’t and was never going to be easy!
KM: Many people today have being retrenched in the last two years in Kenya. The micro economy is so hard hit right now…So for someone who’s lost their job unexpectedly and now has to figure out how to generate money, what advice would you give them? how do they find that ‘one thing’ to get them back on their feet again?
CK: My answer will sound so cheesy but….FAITH.
Before I started my businesses, my mother had just passed away, I was actually slipping into depression and depression is very real! I had to get myself back up with strengthening my relationship with God which made my faith stronger.
Look for something you enjoy doing and make money out of it. Have faith while you’re at it. Trust God and you’ll be OK.
Things will get tough but keep pushing.
KM: In addition to that…since the micro economy is so hard hit right now, most people tend to hold
back on spending money, yet you need them to spend so you can generate sales. How have you dealt with that?
CK: Yes. Dealing with it now! What has worked for me is having offers. Kenyans love a good deal that’s hard to pass by
KM: I’ve seen some of the drapings, curtains and interiors you sell and they are beautiful! Do you create your products from scratch or you select various components to develop a product or what?
CK: I get my fabrics from overseas, bring to Kenya and custom make for clients.
KM: What goes into developing a winning product like that in the market?
CK: A lot of hard work and dedication.
KM: What’s your strategy for competitors? Tile and Carpet Center or Ideal Ceramics? Or are they targeting totally different market segments?
CK: Some of them target the same people but you just have to be confident in what you’re doing. My clients prefer me than other people. I deal with then one on one from beginning to end.
KM: What keeps you going?
CK: My daughter. I want to make her the happiest girl. She’s my motivation for sure! I’m a single mother so I work overtime. I have to make up for that gap and I definitely want to make her and my future children proud.
KM: Do you miss Baltimore?
CK: Living? No. My friends and the food? Yes!
KM: How do you handle all those emotions and feelings of,..”Is what I’m doing the right thing?
CK: Well, I haven’t figured that out yet, haha!
The devil sends you many questions so you can give up. I simply pray my way out of many things.
KM: Have you had a significant setback and how did you bounce back?
CK: Yes, You just learn from whatever went wrong last time and keep it moving.
Setbacks are very normal.
KM: Too much month at the end of the money…What’s your advice to anyone trying to jump over that hurdle?
CK: Well, this is something else I haven’t been able to figure out haha. I’m a big spender. I love giving to charity, spending on my family and friends. This is a weakness for me.
KM: How do you determine between whether you’ve been called to be an entrepreneur or simply just forced by circumstances to be an entrepreneur. I guess this is related to the question we asked earlier about the state of the Kenyan micro economy right now…
CK: You can tell when you wake up in the morning and you’re just not interested in making the business grow to another level. When you start giving up when times get hard and start thinking of going back to employment…..then you know!!
KM: What are the five most profound lessons you’ve learnt in your entrepreneurial journey?
CK: Don’t mix business with friendship!!!!!!!!!
KM: What’s on your music playlist right now? Top five songs?
CK: Gospel and Nyashinski. That’s it.
KM: Are you doing your dream job?
CK: I’m heading there 🙂
KM: It’s been great chatting with you about your various brands. we wish you all the best as you expand and grow your business!
CK: Thank you 🙂