From a distance, the building looks like an old antiquated tin-roofed structure but a closer look reveals a beehive of activities going on inside.
Inside, there are around five wooden benches with some not so stable tables before them. On top of the tables are some table clothes though their original colour is not well projected maybe due to many years of being exposed to human activities.
“Welcome to my humble factory,” a smiling tall looking lady tells me as she ushers me in and preparing a place for me to sit on one of the wooden benches.
The time was 12 noon and already the place was beaming with customers who wanted nothing else but to quench their thirst.
Welcome to Mlango Kubwa, a small estate along Juja Road on your way to Huruma Estate and Mathare. Meet Mrs. Peninnah Nanjala, a business lady who specializes in making and selling fresh juice.
“This is my factory,” she tells me as she points at a plastic fruit blender standing on one of the shaky tables. “I bought this blender at 3500 shillings. This is everything to me,” she says with a smile.
Peninnah has been making fresh juice for more than five years now. Her loyal customers know her as Mama Matunda due to her outstanding record of vending fruits.
She tells me the business of dealing with fruits and fresh juice is delicate but very lucrative as long as one has the will and power to press on a daily basis.
“On a good day, I make between 1000 to 1500 shillings as profits and when the business is not so good, I make between 500 to 800 shillings as profits,” she says as she orders her daughter to bring me a glass of fresh mango juice.
“Kunywa hii unone (Take this so that you can add on some more weight,” she says as we both burst into a roaring laughter.
“I often make mango juice, banana juice and orange juice. Those are the varieties that my customers love. I also prepare some snacks for them so that they can take the juice along with something.”
She tells me that the business has enabled her educate her two daughters, one is now at Nairobi University taking bachelor’s degree in Education while the second one finished her form four last year and is helping her as she waits to join Kenya Medical Training College on Kisumu to study nursing.
“This is all I have. My daughters know this and they know that whatever I do I usually mean business,” she says.
Peninnah tells me that the beauty of doing small business is that one is able to manage it and one knows exactly who history her customers are and what they really want.
She says that she spends between 2000 to 3000 shillings in the buying of fruits and makes between 1000 to 1500 shillings a day.
“No business is small business. Every business is viable and can make profits. Losses are as a result of how one views the business. People see the business of selling fruits and fresh juice as the business of the illiterate and those with no future but the truth of the matter is that people are making thousands of shillings monthly from this business,” she says as she smiling.
As I gable down the last drop of my free earned juice, I learn some few business tips from the whole interview:
Now, ladies and gentlemen, next time you feel like starting a business, think of fruits and fresh juice.