Fashion, Sustainability

Turning Threads into Triumph : The evolution of NAWIRI

Nothing really prepares you for a baby!

So, yes baby is here and you have no idea what to do with this tiny human who is totally dependent on you. So, you grow together.

You let them teach you as much as you are teaching them and the journey begins. Whether it ever ends is neither here nor there, but it is a journey for sure.

Do you know what you are doing half the time? NO! But, you learn along the way.

Why are we talking about babies you ask? I’ll answer that in a bit, but first!

I think we all know that starting a business is not easy. The uncertainties, the doubt, the crippling anxiety coupled with excitement of what you think lays ahead, you know, the mixture of so many emotions all at once!

If you have started a business, you probably know. If not, allow me not to paint a picture but tell you a little story about how a business was birthed – right in the middle of a pandemic.

What were you doing in May 2020? Don’t tell me, I know, you were waiting for whatever this COVID thing is to “go” so that we can go back to normal programing,

The dreadful 4pm press briefings by the Government were weighing all of us down. There was no sign of it ending but we all quietly held on to hope. And maybe you were on your fifth supermarket run for tissue, because for some strange reason we kenyans really bought tissue at that time.

Well, in May of 2020 something else was happening. NAWIRI, a business that had been a concept for a while was birthed. Yes! Smack in the middle of a pandemic and  Yes! she is not crazy, she is just a bold business woman who despite all odds that were definitely stacked against her, cleared the closet in her spare bedroom and stacked it with clothes and shoes she had imported from China, opened an instagram page and started what is now the brand NAWIRI.

Everyone and everything has a story right? This one begins in a closet and because ladies like buying clothes and having things for ‘just in case,’ soon enough the closet space was not enough and NAWIRI had to move. But before I tell you about the move let me introduce you to the person who was crazy enough to start a business in the middle of what became the worst pandemic.

Her name is Joy Obuya, Brand Owner at Nawiri. I would write a lot about this phenomenal business woman but just google, LOL! I have always wanted to use that line, makes you feel important so, yes just google her.

The move NAWIRI needed was made easier by the fact that Joy had been running another business for a few years and hence was able to transform one of the rooms within the office and turn it into a pickup location/mini-store.

Soon enough, because the stuff at NAWIRI is really great quality and we ladies love to wear good things on a budget, the space became too small. And the demand by her rapidly growing client base to have a store they can actually visit propelled the next move and within a year of being in business, NAWIRI had it’s own store and with it came another great milestone.

Let me take you back. At the beginning the concept was centred around importing clothes and accessories but the bigger picture was always to get into Made in Kenya pieces.

If I am being honest I did not expect us to transition as fast because I was not ready for the kind of support we received. But we transitioned and actually started stitching our own pieces a year into being in business. This was definitely unexpected.” Says Joy

Of course just like when a baby is growing there are teething problems and if you have ever dealt with a fundi in Nairobi, you have a story to tell. The character development was heavy. Joy had just been propelled into a new world that definitely came with its own challenges.

At the beginning it was not easy. I have no fashion background whatsoever.  I had to learn how to pick fabric, and make it work for specific designs and so many other new things including which tailor to work with because that is a whole other ball game.”

What they don’t tell you about business is that what looks like success to the outside world was built on a lot of trial and error until they – the business people –  got it right. NAWIRI three years down is on the path of getting it right. It now hires several fundis and is on a sustainability journey that has seen them improve on their carbon footprint and focus on  sustainability by reducing the amount of waste that comes from fabric cut and not used.

NAWIRI is now embarking on a journey that will see them use the fabric that they previously discarded as waste and in turn use it to make smaller pieces that will go into what will be known as NAWIRI baby. Beautiful pieces just like we are used to but now for our little babies.

You asked why we were talking about babies earlier? Well, this is why!  A child is being born, figuratively not literally.

NAWIRI baby is here with us and we cannot wait to see ya’ll matchy matchy with your little ones as we walk this sustainability journey together.

We are NAWIRI – Fashion for everybody and every body!

Hello NAWIRI Baby!


Written by: Wanjiru Kimuya (Digital strategist – NAWIRI)




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