Nabakabya earns money from children’s fashion
If the Covid-19 has left a lot of despair, it has been a springboard for many innovations and companies. Resh kids’ Collection was one of the babies of the Covid pandemic as Latifah Nabakabya started it after the first lockdown (2020). Located near St Raphaël Hospital, in Nsambya, the store sells children’s clothing; from newborn to 12 years old as well as articles for pregnant women.
Coming from a family composed only of girls, Nabakabya had the idea to launch the shop because she wanted to dress girls. “I felt like I was in the right place to do it and that I would do my best,” she says.
Prior to the lockdown, Nabakabya had obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree specializing in finance from Makerere University Business School. Like everyone else, the effects of the lockdown made it harder for her to get a job insofar as she was looking for it.
After seeing her hustling, her aunt gave her 4 million shillings to start a business. “I am grateful for this gift from my aunt because if it was a loan, as a starter, in these post-Covid times, it would have slowed growth,” she shares.
Nabakabya used the money to buy start-up shares in Sasa Arcade after numerous inquiries and price comparisons. These included newborn items such as jumpsuits, towels, stockings, urine mats, crib sheets, diapers, receivers, blankets, mosquito nets and sweaters. She also got clothes for pregnant women such as maternity pants, nightgowns, mommy kits, and cotton.
“Of the capital given to me, I used 2.3 million shillings for children’s products, 500,000 shillings for products for pregnant women while 100,000 shillings was spent on Facebook advertisements. At that time, I had the money for the rent, so I saved the rest to buy those things that people might need but aren’t in my stock,” she said.
That said, the start was not easy at all. “It started with finding a location, then came worrying about where to find inventory and paying rent. Honestly, it was stressful, but it’s a good feeling to own my business “, she says.
Nabakabya’s first clients were his family and friends. “I told them I was opening a children’s store. So they got everything they needed from me and I didn’t overcharge them because they were my first customers. Although I didn’t make much profit to speak of, it was a good feeling to make sales,” she smiles.
From this information, Nabakabya learned that while friends may support their business, they tend to take their friends’ business for granted.
“For example, if the item is worth 50,000 Shs, some may want to buy at 35,000 Shs because you are friends. With this, I learned and decided to separate friendship from business.
Pricing is a very important part of any business and when it is not done well, the business will not make any profit.
Nabakabya learned the costs and prices from a friend who introduced her to most of the vendors for the shop’s items. “One of the things she taught me was the need to look around to compare prices, because each store has its own prices. The other was that when buying things, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk rather than parts. This way, I can make significant profits,” she shares.
Nabakabya gets most of her customers by marketing online on Facebook and WhatsApp. That said, due to its location, its clientele also includes people from the hospital. “I also tap into my social networks, so I get clients from friends as well as my church family,” she says.
Expenses and income
Despite the proximity of a hospital, sales depend on the seasons. That said, in a month gross sales vary between Shs200,000 and Shs600,000.
“Some days are better than others. Sometimes God can bless me with a client who pays up to 500,000 shillings which makes the month finally good,” she shares.
As for expenses, they average Shs 970,000 including rent, garbage collection fees, electricity and transportation.
Apart from the fears she had at the start, Nabakabya has experienced difficulties over the years. These include ever-higher prices when it restocks, increased transportation costs, non-payment of delivery charges by some customers, losses during online sales and purchases, taxes imports as well as high rental and maintenance costs. “These continually reduce our profit margin. That said, we just can’t throw in the towel. A small profit is better than no revenue stream at all,” she says.
Being an entrepreneur requires tough skin because there are cases that turn a good day into a sad day. Nabakabya had those moments.
“Sometimes customers place orders that require placing orders. However, after spending the money, they don’t buy what they asked for, which leads to financial loss because the order is usually suitable for their needs. The other one that stands out was during one of the first months I went to work and the store was closed due to unpaid rent.
Over the past two years, the customer base has grown, which has resulted in increased profits.
“At the end of last year, I had started shipping my own items. Additionally, the business grew to such an extent that it could manage its own expenses. This meant that I no longer had to dip into my pocket to maintain it, which was a big step,” she says.
Each challenge presents a lesson to help him run the business better and over the years Nabakabya has learned not to trust anyone to run the business.
“To be successful in business, you have to do most things yourself rather than delegate. This helps you be more accountable for your actions and avoid financial and stock losses that you cannot trace to their origins,” she says.
Doing business this way has helped her run the business well and know what it needs to grow.
If only I knew…
Where to find products at wholesale prices. However, some people are not open. That said, over time, as the networks grew, I learned. That’s why I value social capital.
She is looking forward to expanding the store into a wholesale outlet for everything related to newborn, children’s and pregnant women’s items.