A missed opportunity to join secondary school is what made Sammy Owacho, now 30 years old, turn his talent and skills into an Art and Craft business. Many years down the line, Sammy remains the only entrepreneur of his kind in Luanda Town of Vihiga County. His dedication is an inspiration to many youths to embrace craftsmanship as a means to curb the high unemployment rate in Kenya.
“What started as an Art and Craft lesson in primary school grew into a business that has enabled my mum and I own a home,” Sammy recalls
The products on display at his rented kiosk in Luanda town speak highly of his breathtaking creativity and talent.
Handcrafted designs that range from traditional jewellery to modern paintings of portraits and frames. He also makes and sells Home decor carvings, silk, ornaments, musical instruments, cookware and other wooden products.
Just like any other business, the Art and Craft sector has its own set of challenges but Sammy has used them as a cornerstone to see his business survive pandemics and election aftermaths. The latest being the Covid – 19 pandemic that made the entrepreneur lose international clients touring the country.
“The whites were fun of my products because they represent our culture. They could buy in bulk but after the Covid -19 pandemic my sales have greatly reduced.” Sammy said.
Sourcing of raw materials is a challenge as well especially the woods that should be specific, stones that are only found in certain areas and other materials that are becoming extinct with time. However, he sources most of the raw materials locally, most of them from his home area making the process less costly.
Inadequate sponsorship for shows and exhibition is quite a hindrance. The business is less promoted which result to less income generation. Nevertheless he’s banking on the social media promotion strategy to market the products and attract more clients.
The goal is to expand his business to serve the Country and the world at large by opening branches in conspicuous areas. This way, he will create more awareness on Art and Craft as well as provide job opportunities for youths like him.
He wants to be an inspiration to the young generation to embrace talent acquired jobs and create employment for themselves. As a pioneer and role model, the entrepreneur is willing to train youths in this area of specialization.
By Susan Agoi