Sarah Ndirangu, 35, tried her hand at many businesses before settling for her passion — making chapati.
The first three ventures for the Kenya Institute of Management graduate — selling clothes, then yoghurt, and finally running a library — collapsed because she either suffer losses or had no idea what level she wanted to develop them to.
“Mid last year, I thought of starting something new, which I was passionate about. I remembered that I used to make chapati to take to relatives whenever I visited,” says the mother-of-one.
She had noticed that most of the relatives she interacted with hardly cooked at home. Instead, they bought food from restaurants.
“I realised that my previous businesses collapsed because I did not have the passion to run them. I am determined to take Chapati Masters to another level, since making chapati is my passion,” Ms Ndirangu says.
She uses the Internet to market her business. She has a mailing list of her friends and sends them e-mails informing them about the services she offers.
She also does a lot of marketing via SMSs, Facebook, Twitter, and through referrals by friends and some of the clients she has served.
Provide the ingredients
“At Chapati Masters, I am a personal caterer, specialising in making chapati in the comfort of your home.
“The clients contact me to go and cook for them, but they provide the ingredients and other requirements,” Ms Ndirangu says, adding:
“The minimum I can use is a two-kilogramme packet of wheat flour, which yields about 40 chapatis. For each of these, I charge Sh15.”
The response to her marketing efforts has been overwhelming. She has cooked for many households and now has regular clients.
She says she is kept especially busy during weekends and public holidays.
On a good day, she can get a contract to make chapati from 20 kilogrammes of flour, earning Sh6,000.
“My clients like a good supply of chapati to last them several days before they call me again,” she says.
Many of her clients have asked her to teach them how to make chapati the way she does.
“I want to take this business to another level. I want to do this job on a full-time basis and employ some people. I want to get orders from other parts of the country,” Ms Ndirangu says.
Unlike in her past businesses, Ms Ndirangu finds it easy to collect her pay from her customers.
In particular, she recounts of her clothes business where some clients would take goods and fail to pay or return them after a long time when they were no longer interested in them.