By Brian Yatich
As a nascent innovator of fashion and design, La Muchacho knows the right step and place to hit for business. This enterprise acts as both an online and offline marketplace where buyers can choose to list their items on their site while keeping them in their own closet.
“When an order is placed, we take care of the delivery and our buyers can have them delivered without the customer lifting a finger,” alludes Tevin Ochieng, Co-Founder La Muchacho.
The 25-year-old entrepreneur is keen to commercialize what he and his friends have built for the last two years.
With a tinge of passion and armed with tech savviness, Ochieng and his group are taking the leap into the fashion industry. A sector that has gain momentum with interest for the last decade largely by the youth.
The idea to start a fashion company came three years ago when Ochieng and his friends noticed that most cloth lines are expensive and most of them are in the overseas and could only be imported which mostly takes a lot of time to get to the country.
“After going through several search designs online we noticed a lot of them are of good designs but are not available in the country, then I thought, why not have a fashion company of our own?” he says.
Being a serial entrepreneur he immediately saw this gap as an opportunity to have affordable fashion cloth line for the local market.
The group started the firm La Muchacho a Spanish name, loosely translated to mean daring, agile and youthful.
“We are involved in virtually every facet of the fashion industry. Our products range from male and female official outfits to smart casual, smart official and general styling,” he points out.
According to Ochieng, the fashion company strives to create a combination of cutting-edge sophistication coupled with a touch of African craftsmanship.
With just a small starting capital of USD 25 (2500/-) and which started as thrift apparels, Ochieng says that they have made a big breakthrough and have achieved what they had never anticipated.
“After we decided on starting the firm, next came the usual startup processes of thinking about suppliers, getting quotes and working on the designs,” he points out.
Their doubts of whether it was a good idea to venture into this sector were cleared when they sold out within the first few weeks of operations.
“A big one for us was this year when we worked with 40 Forty Lounge in Westlands Nairobi designing attires for their staff members,” he notes.
More to that, the firm’s biggest partnership yet was when they rolled out their latest collection dubbed “classic luxury” which was used a TV host to a local Broadcaster during the launch of their model.
“This contributed a lot in terms of awareness, we received several clients asking for the design, which enabled us to launch the collection commercially on TV during our media tour,” he says.
La Muchacho is privileged to work with a number of high-end clients, including CEO Laser Chemicals, a couple of National Assembly members and a big number of the banking community like Chase Bank and StanChart.
“Owing to the nature of our business, given that we are brushing shoulders with established firms cloth line and fashion firms, our turnover tends to fluctuate but in a bad month our income hovers around (1000) (Ksh. 100,000), ” he reveals.
He says that digital marketing still remains their most vibrant marketing strategy,
“The Shift in digital technology has been very impactful to us. Our ever active social media platforms and our recently launched e-commerce website has played a key role in growing our clientele,” he says.
Though the business is now thriving, the road wasn’t always smooth for the La Muchacho Team.
“Our biggest challenge has been delayed arrival of fabrics from abroad, clearing and forwarding technicalities. At times manpower in terms of tailors and stylists are overwhelmed by orders, but our apprenticeship program has helped expand our workforce and not in any way undermining our quality assurance,” he reveals.
Speaking on the future plans, Ochieng says that they are currently focussing on the market they are in to stabilize its foothold before expanding further.
La Muchacho aspires to be the next face of the fashion industry in Kenya and looks to create employment opportunities for tailors, models and stylists in the near future.
“It’s all in our tagline. Quality, style and comfort. Our main motivation is the market gap. The Kenyan fashion industry has great untapped potential and our inspiration is to convince the country that we can be Kenyan and buy Kenyan-quality, style and comfort guaranteed,” he retorts.
He further notes that anyone can start anywhere however small. “What sets entrepreneurs apart is their specific ideas and ideologies. The rest fall into place if we work towards them,” he says
“Stay true to oneself by focusing on yourself and not distracting yourself by constantly trying to be like other entrepreneurs. There’s enough for everyone, it’s only a matter of time. Dedication, persistence and patience,” he points out.
“When it comes to Fashion, it’s all about fresh ideas,” he concludes.
Tevin Ochieng is a final year student of Economics at the University of Nairobi, a budding fashion designer who also doubles up as the firm’s stylish and creative advisor.
La Muchacho is a brain child fashion house, which has been operational since in January of 2015, the idea of the venture was conceived by his childhood friends Philip Omondi (Director), Emmanuel Ogada (Head of Operations) Edmond Oyola (Creative stylist/Model).