Euginia Herlihy. a British Inspirational Writer,a poet and an author once said ‘ “To be an achiever doesn’t mean to achieve only big things. Every small achievement counts big time. Never despise small beginnings.”
Such is the story of Fiona Sampeyian who studied Biochemistry as Egerton University who started as Mama Fua earning a meager ksh 200 to owning her own laundry firm.
She earned the affectionate nickname “Mama Fua” from her college peers, who admired her for the meticulous care she put into hand-washing their clothes.
Despite the challenges that came with juggling academic responsibilities and running a laundry service, Fiona’s business thrived.
She became so proficient in her work that students would eagerly line up, waiting for her services.
After completing her studies in 2017, Fiona turned her dream into reality.
Armed with savings of Sh47,000, contributed by both her and her husband, she founded Abbey Laundry just a few kilometers from the Egerton Njoro campus.
“This is a story of a dream come true turned reality through the power of love, unity and family. In 2014, while in campus, I would clean people’s clothes to raise my tuition fee, which challenged me to start my own company for laundry solution,” she recalled.
The transition from hand-washing clothes to establishing a full-fledged laundry business wasn’t without its challenges.
Fiona invested in a washing machine and, recognizing the need for efficiency, imported a commercial dryer to ensure that clothes could be dried on the same day.
The laundry business, however, wasn’t Fiona’s sole venture. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her into the soap-making business, a complementary addition to Abbey Laundry’s services.
Abbey Laundry’s success didn’t come without its share of ups and downs. Fiona faced challenges on cold days when clothes struggled to dry promptly.
In response, she made a pivotal decision to import a commercial dryer, a game-changer that allowed her business to thrive.
“We have had good moments where clients have trusted us over the years and been able to deliver. The challenge that set us back was on cold days when clothes failed to dry, and clients needed them. To address that, we had to import a commercial dryer,” she said.
To expand her clientele, Fiona ventured into providing laundry services for hotels, banks, and Airbnbs while also supplying detergent to institutions.
Fiona later took a course in communication to enhance her customer service skills.
“With technology, it is easy to market your business beyond your area of locality. I’m using social media space to ensure that I reach my audience and clients within Nakuru and beyond,” she said.
Abbey Laundry, under her leadership, has become a source of employment, with five individuals contributing to the business’s growth.
The business receives a consistent flow of orders, with at least 20 daily requests for duvet cleaning, a clear indication of its popularity and the trust clients place in Fiona’s services.