Home » Turning Crisis into Opportunity: How Alice Kalekye Launched a Thriving Furniture Business Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

Turning Crisis into Opportunity: How Alice Kalekye Launched a Thriving Furniture Business Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

by Paul Nyongesa
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The COVID-19 pandemic brought about numerous challenges for people around the world, including job losses and economic uncertainty.

However, for some, it also served as a catalyst for unexpected opportunities and career shifts.

Alice Kalekye Mutua, the founder of a thriving wooden design business, is a shining example.

A Serendipitous Beginning

Alice, found herself without a job due to the pandemic’s economic fallout.

Like many others, she faced the uncertainty of the future.

With more time on her hands and a need for a coffee table at home, Alice embarked on an unexpected journey into the world of furniture design.

Her journey began when she purchased a coffee table and posted a picture of it on social media. When a friend inquired about the price, Alice seized the opportunity and quoted a higher price.

“So, I went ahead and crafted a design that I truly cherished, fully aware that even if it didn’t sell, it would find a cherished place in my heart. I promptly approached the skilled craftsman, instructing them to bring my envisioned design to life,” the Banking and Finance graduate narrated.

Capturing the essence of this creation, Alice snapped a photograph and shared it online, as she usually did.

To her delight, she received no less than five inquiries from eager customers.

”Without hesitation, I secured the materials once more and entrusted them to the skilled craftsman for production, resulting in a remarkable earnings in just one week.” She recalled.

The Spark of Entrepreneurship

The profit Alice made from her first venture ignited a spark within her.

She decided to take a calculated risk by designing a TV stand for herself.

If it didn’t sell, she would still have a useful piece of furniture. Alice designed a TV stand that resonated with her personal taste and posted it online.

To her surprise, she received several inquiries and quickly turned them into sales. In just one week, she had earned Ksh 16,000, reinforcing her belief in the potential of her newfound business.

Scaling Up with Determination

Alice’s initial success fueled her ambition.

She started her journey with just one skilled craftsman and one painter in a small workspace in Kware area.

As demand for her furniture grew, she moved to larger spaces, investing in a more prominent location and better facilities.

In the same year she began, she transitioned from paying Ksh 10,000 to Ksh 20,000 for her workspace, showcasing her dedication to growth and improvement.

As time passed and the demand for her furniture products continued to rise, Alice made the bold move to establish a showroom in the upscale Outering Nairobi area.

This showroom now proudly displays a wide range of furniture products, including TV stands, coffee tables, bookstands, racks, and study tables among other items.

Alice also packages and arranges courier services to various parts of the county

She currently works more than 15 fundi and painters.


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