In this episode we feature Linet ‘Nimmoh” Ndungu of Nimmoh’s Homestays to get to learn about her journey in the Airbnb and listing business.
As the only entrepreneur in her family, Wairimu (Nimmoh) never imagined she would end up in the real estate or hospitality business perse. “It’s just out of curiosity, I wanted to try something different, plus every time I would get employed, I felt like I could do more with my life. So… yeah I just… I find myself always leaning towards entrepreneurship, and that’s how I started even back then,” she told Enterprise Magazine at an interview.
Her journey in the homestays business started back in August 2020, that’s when she set up her first two-bedroom units in Nanyuki town. Previously, she worked with a betting firm and lost her job in 2019 out of redundancy. Before deciding to go back home, Nimmoh applied for quite a couple of jobs. However, nothing was coming through. That’s when she moved back to Nanyuki, her hometown.
Her interests in this business came in at a time when she had lost a friend, and her friends from Nairobi had come to Nanyuki for the burial. Unfortunately, they could not find a place to stay since all the hotels and homestays in the town were fully booked. “At that particular moment, I realized there is a gap, and I decided to relocate from Nairobi and moved my household items here and set it up as my first unit, so that’s where my journey began.”
“I offered a solution that didn’t exist before. Once people set up their houses, they give me the units and, I manage them on their behalf. I will do everything from housekeeping, coordination of check-ins and check-outs; I do guest inventory and restocking. So that’s how I grew my number through marketing, and now people trusted my brand, that’s how I started growing.”
As it is with every other job, Nimmoh says that one of the biggest challenges in her business is that the licenses are quite hefty, and they are giving them a hard time but they still make to do it.
“I think love what I do. I have not thought let me look for a job, maybe let me re-strategize, let me re-model a unit because sometimes you find that our clients’ needs are evolving, so their need to get finer things also grow.”
Personalizing her brand
Wairimu decided to call her business Nimmoh’s because she wanted to personalize the brand since, in such a business, people have to trust you with their money. “I decided to be the face of my brand, that is if you’re looking for accommodation you know you’re being handled by Nimmoh whom you can place a finger on their face… this is the one, this is the lady I sent my money, so that’s brought in a lot of trust. She has used her name as the company’s name since the beginning.
In one year and four months, Nimmoh has managed to furnish and manage 25 units, and market 15 more. She set up her first two-bedroom unit during the high season. However, there was still a shortage. A few weeks later, she decided to take a facility and set up a small unit. “I became very aggressive with my marketing online, so that caught the attention of other people who were trying to set up, and I got quite many of people who wanted me to market their units.”