New month is here, new exciting things begin to happen. What new things you may ask. Well if you have been following my Instagram posts (You can do so here) you may have noticed a hash tag on some of my portraiture work #PeopleOfNairobi. Well this final month of the year will be the begin of a new aspect to my blog, People Of Nairobi. In this new category, I will feature short stories of the people that live and work in Nairobi. This here will be my first piece which is really interesting as I feature the stories of select vendors of the Market Expo normally located behind the Kencom Building, Nairobi.
This Market Expo happens once or occasionally twice in a month from Wednesday through to Sunday. In this expo, a wide variety of clothing and soft furnishings are put on display at affordable rates for the public to acquire. The expo is a way of connecting small scale highly creative and ambitious vendors to sell their products to the wider public in the heart of Nairobi City. Other than the amazing displays showcased by the vendors, the stories behind these vendors is also as intriguing.
Name: Valentine. A first timer at this Market Expo but very enthusiastic with her business. Majoring in mainly African designed dresses, clutches and hats, she runs a very colorful business trying to sell Africa through her products. Most of her products are made by herself at Ngara which is on the outskirts of the C.B.D. Being a first timer to this business, she is quite impressed by the positive feedback she has received from her work.
Name: William. A custom jeweler who uses locally accessed materials to make his jewelry. Having attended the Expo for the second time as an exhibitor and vendor, William knows his market very well and also the specific days he can get most of his desired customers to buy his unique pieces of art in jewelry form. He only sells his products at the Market Expo since he does not own a shop where he can sell them. He makes these pieces in Kibra Slum which is on the outskirts of the city. You can be sure to find him selling his pieces of art at the Expo mostly from the Thursday of the Expo.
Name: Linda. A three time exhibitor at this market expo, Linda is a very aggressive vendor especially to the ladies as she displays a wide variety of flats and heels to attract them. She owns a shop at Vatican House along Moi Avenue where she also sells dresses. Being conversant with the operations of the expo, she knows the days when there are a lot of potential customers who would coincidentally pass by her stall and get attracted by the prices displayed for the products on offer. For all the ladies, you can go check out her products at her Vatican House stall or when another Market Expo happens.
Name: Winnie. A very enthusiastic vendor and a regular exhibitor at the Market Expo, she jubilantly showcases her unique products and sells them to interested people that pass by her stall. Her joy and the colorful display attracts people to see her products and the affordable prices makes them stay and consider purchasing them. She mainly deals with Kikoy printed Lesos (Swahili for Scarfs) and uniquely designed hats mostly for women. She also runs a stall in the Ngara Market where she makes the hats by hand.
Name: Margaret. People say, save the best for last, well this one is one of them. Margaret is not a newbie in the Market Expo business as she has been a frequent exhibitor. Her colorful creative afro designed products attract many potential customers to her stall everywhere she goes. The story of this venture however, is something not many people are aware of. Margaret works with the Thomas Barnados House along Lang’ata Road that has been sheltering children for decades now. The home was started in 1961 for the sheltering and protecting of the children that had both African and British parents. Since then, the home has grown and accepted orphaned and destitute children whom they take care of, school and also shape them into responsible adults. The home started making and sewing clothes mainly for the clothing needs of the home. It then ventured out in making more products that they used to give out as gifts to the special visitors that visited the home. Later on the home started making more products including soft furnishings that could be sold to help provide income that would be used for the necessary needs of the home. The idea behind their products is making anything that would be of good use in a typical home that involves fabrics. These products are sold in these expos where they get subsidized prices to put up the stall since the proceeds go to charity and are also members of the Nairobi County Trade Fair. This is one place that I would recommend to visit during this festive season to give support to the home and if it is well with you also provide a donation to the home.
There you have it, my first feature in my People Of Nairobi segment. Many more features will be here since well, this city hosts 4 million people, so that’s the target I may safely put. Please leave a comment below, I would really appreciate the feedback of this. Peace.