Norah Muendo, the owner of Nila Baby Shop, a secondhand baby store in Nairobi with branches throughout the country, embarked on her entrepreneurial journey in 2018. Her motivation to start this business stemmed from the challenges she faced while trying to find baby clothes during her pregnancy.
Interestingly, Norah named her first shop in Utawala, Nairobi after her eldest daughter, Nila. In a recent interview with KTN, she shared her inspiring story of how she ventured into the business with the aim of making the process of shopping for baby items easier for expectant mothers.
Norah described the difficulties she encountered when trying to source the necessary supplies before her baby’s arrival. “It was a tedious task. I couldn’t find a single place where I could shop for everything I needed,” she recalled. Determined to provide a solution, Norah, with the support of her husband, initially obtained stock from Gikomba market. However, she ended up using most of it for her own daughter.
Undeterred by her initial setback, Norah’s husband provided her with additional funds, amounting to Ksh 200,000, for restocking. Before acquiring the new inventory, Norah diligently searched for a suitable shop to rent. “That’s when I made a mistake. I found a shop that required a Ksh 95,000 goodwill payment. I also had to design and set up the shop, which left me with only Ksh 20,000,” she explained.
With the remaining amount, Norah purchased some stock and, with her husband’s encouragement, delved into social media marketing. “He set up the business pages, and they were up and running. I also took up the challenge and started promoting our products in mothers’ groups, which helped attract clients,” Norah elaborated. By the end of 2018, her business had thrived, enabling her to restock the shop and provide deliveries to her customers.
However, Norah’s journey faced a temporary interruption when she became pregnant with her second child in March of the following year. Forced to go on complete bed rest until August, she had no choice but to temporarily close down her business. “In August, I received a clean bill of health and resumed my business. Unfortunately, I had accumulated five months of rent arrears during my absence,” Norah revealed.
Fortuitously, upon her return, Norah experienced a resurgence in business and managed to regain her momentum. Realizing the need for assistance, she decided to hire an employee to support her operations. “I was initially skeptical about employing someone, but my husband convinced me, considering the increasing demand for our products. Reluctantly, I acquiesced,” Norah admitted.
Despite her efforts, Norah encountered a setback when she received a notice from her landlord, instructing her to vacate the shop. Consequently, she was compelled to close down her business once again. Determined not to disappoint her loyal clientele, Norah devised a solution. “When I closed the physical shop, I informed my employee that we would continue operating from home. She would collect the clothes and facilitate deliveries,” Norah explained.
For a while, Norah managed her business remotely before eventually bouncing back and opening another physical store. “When you solely operate online, people may have doubts, but having a physical shop instills trust in your customers,” she emphasized. The shop flourished, and over the years, Norah expanded her enterprise, now overseeing shops in Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret, and Kisumu.
Reflecting on her journey, Norah acknowledged the significance of her employees and customers as invaluable assets in her business. “You may possess a vast inventory, but the most crucial elements are the people who work for