Connect with us

Business

In wood, I have found my life’s purpose

Published

on

Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

With a twang that borders between a mixture of urban and rural upbringing, Catherine Soi, 35, would pass as your normal banker or a model. But she is neither: she uses wood pallets to make an array of elegant furniture. The young entrepreneur is the owner of Soi Pallet Design—a novel outfit birthed in 2018 that is making in-roads in the overcrowded arena.

Wood pallets have been around for decades as mechanisms for shipping and storing larger items. However, few saw their value and so were thrown or used as firewood. But now, Soi has found a new use for them.

With two workshops in Kisumu and Nairobi and more than 10 employees, the pallet design company has set sight on penetrating the corporate furniture scene and expanding across Eastern Africa.

She is an entrepreneur who wears many hats; if she is not designing elegant furniture, she is checking on a family she fully supports from Kiboswa area, Kisumu county. She learned about the family’s predicament two years ago from a social media group called “Kisumu Mum”. The mother had abandoned her family.

With her savings and well-wishers contributions, Soi was able to build the family a decent home. Four months after the house was complete, Soi tried to convince the woman to return home and take care of her three children, but her interventions were futile. The woman eventually switched off her phone.

Catherine Soi in her workshop.

Long line of artists

The father would then do the unthinkable; he sexually abused the daughter, an act that would later land him in Kodiaga Prison. After seeing all these forms of abuse, Soi later decided to place two boys at Ebenezer Rehabilitation Centre and their sister at Familia, a non- governmental organisation in the county.

She understood the struggles and decided to stick with them, “I had a rough childhood and at some point I used to live like that. I will support them till the end,” she explains.

Making a name in a male-dominated field for Soi, has not been a walk in the park. After several false starts and numerous discouragement from

her peers, she finally found her passion: wood pallets, which she gets from god owns in Nairobi.

She chuckles as she recalls a situation in which one of her clients almost backed out of an offer after realising she was a woman.

“That week I had not sold anything, so when the client inquired about a particular design, I was jubilant. After meeting him, he kept asking whether the carpenter was still on his way coming. I told him I am the carpenter. He didn’t believe me, until I started showing him some designs,” she says.

Soi has tried farming, boutique business, but always come back to wood, she narrates, “It has taken me several years to realise that is my purpose in life. I have dipped my hands in farming, opened a boutique, but I always return to using pallets.”

As a designer, Soi is always trying new things. At six in the morning, the single mother of four wakes up, says a prayer, checks her social media pages and email, where she interacts with clients before heading to the workshop in Lolwe estate, Kisumu county.

At 8am, she gives her employees instructions on new orders and checks progress of other designs, before heading out for meetings or social media marketing. Digital marketing and referrals, she notes, is what makes her enterprise soar. In a good sale, she pockets between Sh10,000 and Sh30,000 for a three-seater household pallet sofa- depending on the design and material used.

But finding her passion in wood pallets traces its way several years ago. Despite coming from a line of artists, Soi never dreamed of becoming a carpenter and even excelling in the trade.

She recalls one incident in 1982 with her grandfather, a revered carpenter then in Makimenyi village, Bomet county, who forecasted her later years as an entrepreneur.

“At age three, I occasionally visited my grandfather’s workshop. On this particular day, he was working on a table. I was so disruptive, so he gave me a hammer and some nails to keep me busy. And true to his “prophecy”, I was so engrossed in the process that he managed to complete working on the table,” she laughs.

He was preparing me for something big, unknowingly, she explains. Her sister is in interior design and her uncle, a carpenter, currently works for her.

Interestingly, it is an entrepreneurial path she bumped into, albeit, accidentally, but her steel determination to make her mark in Kenya’s furniture scene is eminent in her designs.

Support single mothers

In 2017, before venturing into carpentry, she worked for a mobile phone manufacturing company as a sales representative covering Western region. With tight schedules and an irritable manager, who used to violate their rights, Soi developed health problems.

“We used to work for long hours. And when you were found with a slight mistake; the manager, a foreigner, would subject women to 20 press ups and men 40 press ups as a form of punishment, so I had to endure the pain, since I really needed the job. And worse, the manager used to threaten us with a sack” says Soi.

And when she could not stomach it anymore, she quit. Life outside employment was rough. She moved to a new house, but did not have any furniture. With little cash, she had to be creative.

“I went to the shop and bought wood pallets, which I used to make some few furniture for my new house,” recalls Soi.

After some months, she got a job as a M-Pesa attendant, but she did not last long there, too. Then came the eureka moment, as she puts it. “I was feeling bored, so I decided to post seats I had made on my Instagram page under the topic ‘Do It Yourself’. Within minutes, I started getting inquiries,” says Soi.

I did the same on my Facebook page. “And the results were amazing. That day alone, I got four offers,” she says, adding that she did not even know how she would deliver the furniture to her clients.

“I had to rely on my clients deposit to finish the job. Although they were not aware. My first orders turned out to be too lousy. I instantly became a carpenter. I used to learn from YouTube on pallet furniture making and new designs,” she adds.

Soi has received several awards, including Blaze by Safaricom Award under the Production and Sales Category in 2018. She also attended a Start-up Accelerator Programme by Ygap, an impact entrepreneur investor from Australia that supports social entrepreneurs to impact persons living in poverty.

She started doing things differently after the trainings; sharpening her entrepreneurial and book keeping expertise.

Like any startup, access to capital still pulls her pallet-making business back from shooting to the league of big players.

“I do not have enough credit to grow. I am knocking on doors for capital to grow even bigger,” she says, adding that she plans to pass her skills to single mothers unable to put food on the table.

For now, she is determined to pass her skills to the next generation of women and would not stop.

“I will only be satisfied when I pass my skills to other women, especially single mothers like me,” she says..

Soi maintains her support for women in ‘odd’ jobs.

“As a woman entrepreneur, I will be celebrating empowerment. It is no longer weird for a woman to do odd jobs. Most women are out there getting and excelling at the once perceived odd jobs” she concludes.

CATHERINE SOI

“It has taken me several years to realise that is my purpose in life. I have dipped my hands in farming, opened a boutique, but I always return to using pallets

By PD


Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Certified Homes Ltd Free Christmas & New Year Holiday Gifts

Published

on

Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Your developer of choice Certified Homes Ltd in partnership with Bonfire Adventures is giving you Christmas Gift of your lifetime.
You automatically qualify for free holiday to your destination of choice once you book a unit with Certified Homes Ltd.
SUKARI HEIGHTS located in the most exclusive Kahawa Sukari neighborhood comprises of;

Spacious Studio 380ft2 kes 2.7m, projected rental income kes 20,000

Elegant 2 br 700ft2 master ensuite kes 3.7m, rental income kes 35,000

Standard 3 br 1077ft2 master ensuite kes 4.8m, rental income 45,000

Executive 3 br master ensuite plus SQ 1346ft2 kes 5.7m, rental income kes 55,000

Flexible payment plan, deposit kes 1.5m bal in 24 months.

Call/WhatsApp 0711 128 128
www.certifiedhomes.co.ke


Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Continue Reading

Business

Deep-Dive Analysis: Studying Master’s At Jacksonville State University

Published

on

Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

BY BOB MWITI

Have you ever wondered what it takes to study your master’s in America?. Well, in this episode of Success With Bob Mwiti Show, I take a deep-dive analysis of taking your master’s at Jacksonville State University. If you like my work, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

A Little Bit About Me!

I am a former international student in USA and I am a senior IT consultant in the areas of Oracle EBS Financials and Robotics Process Automation (RPA) here in USA. I am the programs director of Appstec America – A consulting company based in Tampa, Florida, USA.

I’ve been blessed to have learned a lot in my career as an IT consultant. My life has truly changed, and I’ve made it my mission to give back and serve others beyond myself. Whether that be helping you to relocate to USA as an international student, train you as an IT consultant, help you start and build your own online business, creating your financial freedom, motivating you to pursue your goals and dreams, to being more productive, to inspiring you to constantly improve yourself.

My mission is to get you to wake up to the unlimited potential within you and achieve what you’re truly capable of through my various self-development training programs.On the internet, I openly and passionately share my life experiences and all of the very best concepts, strategies, tools, and resources that I continue to discover that have made a measurable difference to my life, and will do for you as well.

Keep your dream alive and never give up! To learn about my company’s amazing programs, please go to;

www.appstecamerica.com or www.successwithbobmwiti.com

Contact me at;
success@successwithbobmwiti.com
info@appstecamerica.com
+1 813-573-5619 ext 402


Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Continue Reading

Business

KQ resumes direct flights to New York

Published

on

Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  • 2
  •  
  •  
  •  

The national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) resumed its direct flights between Nairobi and New York on Sunday.

In a tweet, KQ announced the move and topped it up with an offer to passengers who book their flights before December 10 that they will enjoy discounted prices.

Welcome back to the Big Apple! Today we resume our service between Nairobi and New York, and we can’t wait to welcome you on board. Book your ticket via https://t.co/hitS3Whxtp before December 10th to enjoy discounted rates ✈️🌎 *Disclaimer – video from our pre-COVID archives pic.twitter.com/1kET4h0kRK

— Kenya Airways (@KenyaAirways) November 29, 2020

“Welcome back to the Big Apple! Today we resume our service between Nairobi and New York, and we can’t wait to welcome you on board,” the airline said.

The national carrier last operated the passenger flights using the Nairobi-New York route in April after disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

KQ resumed international flights in August after suspending all its operations in March following the government’s directives after the firsts case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Kenya.

On Saturday, October 31, KQ announced that it had postponed New York flights’ resumption.

Through a notice, the airline said the decision to postpone the flights was informed by the increased cancellation of flight bookings to New York.

“We regret to announce that due to increased cancellations of flight bookings to New York City, we have pushed back the resumption of our service to this destination to November 29. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused,” read the statement then.

Kenya Airways inaugurated direct flights to the US in October 2018, cutting the journey to the US by 15 hours and by October 2019 KQ had flown at least 105,084 passengers after completing 594 flights to and from New York.

by NN


Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  • 2
  •  
  •  
  •  
Continue Reading

Special Offer: Own one starting at Ksh 3.7M


poapay3

Like us on Facebook, stay informed

NEWS TRENDING RIGHT NOW

2020 Calendar

satellite-communication1.jpg

Trending