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MY HUSTLE: The bag maker with an artistic edge

Wednesday October 16 2019

Nicodemus Augustantino Nyatome at his place of work during the interview in Nakuru Town on August 30, 2019. PHOTO| JOHN NJOROGE

Nicodemus Augustantino Nyatome at his place of work during the interview in Nakuru Town on August 30, 2019. PHOTO| JOHN NJOROGE 

MARGARET W. MAINA
By MARGARET W. MAINA
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Nicodemus Nyatome aka Fundi Nyata got his artistic streak from his father, who was an actor in the popular Kenyan TV show Vioja Mahakamani.
The 22-year-old performing poet, fashionpreneur and script writer has grown tremendously and made a name for himself with his artistic designing of quality, classy bags.

The Bachelor of Education Arts graduate from Kenyatta University says that he had to pursue a part-time course in fashion and design. It is here that he learnt to make clothes.

“My father is very supportive. He willingly enrolled me in fashion course as I had too much free time,” he says.

PASSION FOR ART

“In 2017, I decided to do bag designing as I saw a gap in Nakuru, where I reside. As much as I did not know how to make bags, I approached a local tailor who taught me through apprenticeship,” he says.

Fundi Nyata started making bags and sells them from Sh1, 500 to Sh3, 500, depending on the production cost.

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During music and drama festivals, he writes and sells scripts, choral verses and narratives to different schools, which he also directs.

When asked how he curbs competition, Fundi Nyata says that his bags are dynamic and versatile. His products range from purses, handbags, backpacks, travelling, shopping bags and customised shoes.
“I use a variety of fabrics; Ankara, sisal, silk and Maasai shukas. I would rather blend fashion with my profession as a teacher than quit, since as much as it is a hobby for me, it also puts food on my table,” he said.
His bags are mostly for women. He justifies this by saying that they are impulsive buyers.

“Men can comfortably carry a single wallet for a decade, for ladies, a single bag is not enough for a day,” he says.

His marketing strategy is mainly through social media platforms and referrals. Clients mostly purchase his pieces through his Instagram page. He has sold some of them to lifestyle content creator and YouTuber Joy Kendi, among others.
As much as it is a thriving business for him where he makes a profit of Sh20,000 to Sh50,000 in a good month, Fundi Nyata says that adequate machines and sourcing for materials are still a challenge for him.
“I have two sewing machines and an employee, Tom Ochieng, who helps with the designing. Sometimes we are overwhelmed with orders,” he adds.
Fundi Nyata, who is inspired by day-to-day activities says that competitors are few in Nakuru as many focus on clothes craftsmanship. As much as he uses materials meant for clothes, he stands out from the rest with his versatile creations.
He wants to train more people on bag-making and grow his brand internationally, as he already has clientele all over the world.

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