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Reaping the fruits of patience, persistence

By , People Daily Digital
Saturday, November 20th, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Kellen Kamau, proprietor of Cyancity Graffix says graphic design is still as vital to branding, communication, and messaging today as it was decades ago.

When Kellen Kamau the proprietor of Cyancity Graffix cleared her secondary education, she wanted to start her own business right away.

The idea of becoming her boss sounded too good and could not be long delayed.

The reason being, as a boss she would be able to set up her working hours, choose her clients and work from wherever she wanted, all the while doing the work she loves.

However, lack of starting capital made her opt for employment rather than starting her own business. The good thing is that after being employed for six years, she’s finally managed to open her own business.

“I got into the graphic design industry as an employee in 2014. I was lucky to be employed by one of the best graphic designers in Nairobi. Since I knew nothing about graphic design, she showed me all the basics. That is how I learned what it entails to be a good designer.

Graphic design services

According to her, since the firm was only offering graphic design services, their clients used to outsource printing services.

This would piss her off since most of the times clients would come back complaining about the quality of the prints. That is how she spotted a business opportunity.

After working for six years as an employee, in 2019 she felt it was the right time for her to take the next step. She then parted ways with her employer.
She also bought small printers, a computer, rented a place, and opened her business at Simba Center River Road.

That is how Cyancity Graffix a business that deals with both graphic design and printing was borne.

“I always believed in quality and I was sure when I was ready to leave I would merge the two (designing and printing) into one business.

Today my business deals with design and printing of promotional materials like reflective jackets, t-shirts, caps, mugs, receipt books and so much more,” she says.

According to her, though the business is very promising because they are growing daily, it has not been all rosy. The learning curve has been the same with other startups.

Apart from that, when Covid -19 hit the country they were forced to close indefinitely for three months.

“At first it was hard for me since I had a young family. Apart from that, I was the one taking all roles in my business and still had to do all the work.

Then came Covid-19 and people were advised to stay at home and that meant no customers for our business since then we used to rely on walk-ins. I decided to take a breather and restrategise.”

Business doors

In June 2020 the business doors were open again. However, this time she was more knowledgeable. She turned to social media for marketing.

She started marketing her services using Facebook and Instagram sponsored ads. That increased her business visibility and clients started taking up their services.

“So far I can’t complain. Over the year and four months that my business has been in operation, I have been able to create employment and purchase high-end printing machines to help with our productions. We have also created a solid relationship with clients who come back for our services.”

What are her secrets to building a successful design business?

Kellen says that patience and persistence have been her key secrets. She says that patience is key, especially when starting.

According to her, she had to discount her work to get clients something that made her frustrated at first to the extend of giving up.

Good quality work

However, because of her good quality work, time consciousness, and good communication with her clients, those initial customers who were at first not bringing a lot of money to the business turned into loyal clients and in turn, they have generated other clients through referrals and testimonials.

To her, persistence is needed in finding those initial clients.
“My experience thus far has taught me that patience and persistence are key. Starting, it often feels like you are spinning your wheels. You face doubts that you can make it on your own. This is especially true if you have a family depending on your income.”

And what is the future of this industry? She says that the industry is filled with more opportunities than ever since graphic design is still as vital to branding, communication, and messaging today as it was decades ago.