|Penninah Maragia - Entrepreneur - Funky Socks|
Every now and then I reach out to people who are doing “big” things with their lives and ask if they mind being featured on this awesome platform (I lie…sometimes I beg) … some folks say no mainly because they feel they do not have much to fill a page (strongly disagree) or what they are doing isn’t spectacular enough to fetch anyone’s attention. Or they come out frankly and say, “Tabitha, I don’t feel comfortable being featured online.” Which is cool, I respect that, but it’s also a bummer especially if I thought their story would be dope.
Meet Penninah Maragia. Once a fellow student at campus and boom! Next thing I know she is on NTV being interviewed by Kobi Kihara about her socks business. Yes people, she is building an empire, all thanks to socks…
What’s this hustle all about? Read on…
What was your first job?
I was working as a sales person for an electronics and phone company.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I have always liked the idea of running a business, maybe it’s because I started taking care of myself at an early age and began having responsibility over myself. Also, running my own business gives me the freedom I need and I also get to be in control of my money.
Tell me more…how did it all start?
Starting funky socks was the most random idea that me and my partner had, we initially started by selling men happy socks (colored/funky socks), we then went to women knee high socks and as the company grew we realized we had to meet our customer’s needs, so we added ankle socks, baby socks and also boxers to our funky collection. We are planning on adding on more in future so that we become an all rounded men shop. We have Social media platforms where you get to see what we have in collection and if someone needs to make an order they just contact us and we deliver to their doorstep.
We realized that the colored funky socks were not a norm in Kenya and Africa at large, but they were very big in the U.S and we decided why not try it out. It was a trend and we were willing to risk everything and bring something different to the market. Also, we just wanted to change the black socks mentality.
What gets you up in the morning?
Success wakes me up, the fact that am not even close to achieving my set targets and goals that keeps me awake, also I want my kids to have the life I never had and that is not going to happen in my sleep.
What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever had?
‘You do what you can until you are able to do what you want’ basically never choose a job just because it’s not your profession, use that opportunity to cultivate your skills, you never know who is watching.
Who has had the most impact in your professional life?
My former boss (Sheila Muriuki) she actually helped me discover myself and believed in me even when I was doubting myself, she taught me a lot about leadership and management.
What part of your job keeps you awake at night?
Oh my...branding and marketing the business keeps me up at night. I try to research on all ways on how to improve sales through my social media pages to enhance sales and create a lasting brand that relates with our clients.
What advice would you give someone who would want to venture into this line of business?
Branding and marketing, Quality and Consistence is very key, ensure your product is genuine and this will always bring you repeat customers.
What are the top reasons why you have been successful in business?
Prayers, Consistency, Customer satisfaction, Patience and never giving up.
What’s your advice to young Kenyans struggling with unemployment? From an entrepreneur perspective
Number one, being jobless is not the end of the world, there are so many opportunities as far as business ideas are concerned. You just have to find out what works for you and just go for it. Two, start anything you are passionate about with the little you have, that is how you grow and learn.
How do you relax after a long day at work?
I like having some alone time watching movies, I also love going for eat outs with friends. This really helps me when I’m in a lot of pressure and of course shopping is my therapy. (Laughs)
If you could go back in time ... What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
That I should have used all the free time I had to empower and build myself, I should have invested more both in networking and business. I should have saved more and never procrastinated my ideas.