What I have learnt from selling second-hand clothes online
- Great marketing has helped her acquire a large number of clients, mostly the middle class in Nairobi and its environs.
Victory Opiyo is a fashion stylist and owner of Vickey's Collections, a second-hand clothes business. She speaks on what it takes to run a successful business.
"I started selling clothes when I was in Standard Five," Victory Opiyo starts.
Then, she lived in Siaya with her mother and siblings and would come to visit her father in Kariobangi during the holidays.
She would then sell all her nice dresses to other girls in the village on her return. She however never thought of clothes or fashion as a career.
"I thought I would grow up to be a radio presenter. I have always been a chatterbox," quips the 25-year-old.
This was not to be as her father, the breadwinner, passed away after she completed high school. "I ended up pursuing CPA," she says of the accounting course she enrolled for in Nairobi.
"I decided to get a job to cater for some of my expenses instead of depending on my family. I got a job at a boutique as a saleslady. I loved the job," Vickie explains.
She loved the job, especially when satisfied customers left the shop with a smile on their face. The employer closed the shop a few months later.
"I decided to start selling baby clothes online and opened a Facebook page, ‘Baby daily Outfits', to market the clothes," she says. She gained valuable experience in running a business online.
She then got a job at an auditing firm in Westlands. "I would save a minimum of Sh2,000 monthly. I wanted to use the savings as capital for a business," narrates Victory.
"I had to occasionally walk for a distance between Westlands to my residence in Kariobangi to meet my savings. That took a toll on me," Vickie expounds.
She resigned after one year. "I learnt a lot while at the firm and the experience has helped me run my business," she says.
Armed with a smile, passion for clothes and her savings, she bought her first bail at Gikomba market and opened up a shop in Kawangware, on Naivasha road. That was in 2017 when Vickey Collection was born.
Her first batch of stock was women's clothes. With her previous experience in online selling, she later branched out into the sale of men and children clothes on the OLX platform and her WhatsApp.
"I use Facebook to market; digital marketing is the way to go," says Vickie. Great marketing has helped her acquire a large number of clients, mostly the middle class in Nairobi and its environs.
Like any other business, she faces downtimes. This is especially during low demand seasons like January. "I have to sometimes lower my profit margins," she says.
"The other difficulty is when an online buyer doesn't know what they want and it's hard to assist them," she says.
Victory has also learnt from her mistakes. "I bought a bail of Chinese ladies clothes, little did I know that a majority were small size clothes," she tells.
To date, the consignment is unsold, as her clients are full-bodied. "The chiffon clothes, which I specialise in, are hard to sell during the cold season because it is of light material," she says.
"I have taken notes from my mistakes and learnt from them," she adds.
Victory's advice: "Anyone selling clothes should focus on the customer value and not the money that they are bringing in.
"Having that as the focus will enable you as the business owner relate well with the customers and eventually make a good profit and acquire long term clients."
She has big dreams too. "I plan to eventually have a chain of stores in all counties in the country. Stores that can offer clothes that are affordable to all. I also want to have a foundation that will enable me to give back to society," she concludes.