When I first met Peter Mwangi at the Laikipia Innovation fair with the County Governor, Ndiritu Mureithi, donning one of his hand-made boots nothing revealed that Mwangi had stopped his education after his class eight exams.
Mwangi’s eyes shone with a determination and courage of somebody who had finally discovered their purpose, talent and passion.
Governor Ndiritu did not miss the opportunity to show off the boots and just how proud he was of innovators in the fair; he promised his endearing support a number of innovations that carried the day.
Peter Mwangi’s Story
Mwangi’s story is that of hope and determination, his education came to an end in 1990 after he completed his Primary school education and could not proceed to Secondary school.
Mwangi’s star could not be put off by the discouragement of not finishing school and he hence joined a local shoe maker in 1991 at Nyahururu town.
It is in Nyahururu that Mwangi learned the art of making shoes and perfected it to the point of earning a name for himself as a respected shoemaker.
Mwangi now operates a shoe shop in Nyahururu town with another Jua Kali shade in Nyahururu’s Nyayo.
Mwangi works together with his wife, Irene, with the Nyahururu shop also serving as their office. He has trained a number of young people on the shoe making craft including two students from the Nyahururu polytechnic.
Mwangi’s Specialization in the Shoe-Making Industry
Mwangi settled on making boots five years ago after making school shoes became seasonal and unreliable which has now earned a niche in the Industry.
Mwangi makes security boots that could serve security officials and has gained popularity with boda boda operators in the County. Mwangi’s boots, popular as Laikipia Nyati, could easily serve Kenya security service.
Mwangi believes Kenya does not need to procure the boots from outside the Country when we export the raw materials as we can make them ourselves.
Laikipia Nyati boots go for 2,500 shillings a pair and Mwangi gets orders for up to 10 pairs in a month.
Mwangi makes 15,000 shillings a month as profit in a ‘bad month’ and double the profits in a high month.
Mwangi has employed one employee and two casual employees working with him.
The affordable pricing of the boot and its great quality is but some of its sell out.
Mwangi says one of the challenges hindering his ability to produce more boots, than the six he does in a day, is lack of machinery to enable him cut and shape the leather material.
“If supported with capital and other requirements, I can manufacture in large quantities for the wholesale market,” Mwangi says.
Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, during the Laikipia Innovation Fair held recently, said Laikipia would be a model Centre and innovators as Mwangi will be assisted to realize their dreams before the same is replicated in other counties.
“We shall ensure every machine and equipment needed is availed then we replicate in the 47 counties,” Munya concluded.