BENJAMIN Gsell, 26, was born in Vienna, Austria, and developed an interest in entrepreneurship at an early age.
“I started out selling computer accessories while still in school, and explored other opportunities upon graduation. My goal back then was to find business opportunities in Africa or the Middle East,” he says.
The Middle East worked out sooner, with Ben getting a job in Dubai that gave him experience in operations, marketing and business development. But after five years, he decided to go back into entrepreneurship.
He, however, put his plans on the back burner for a little while so he could travel. One of his destinations was Kenya.
“While visiting Nairobi for the first time in March 2017 and driving through the city, I was stunned by the proliferation of second-hand clothes along the streets,” Benjamin says.
Impressed by the potential he saw in the mitumba business, he started researching to figure out how to get a slice of the pie.
In September last year, he relocated to Kenya, and the following month, opened his first shop. He tells Hustle how he’s broken into the industry.
I was fascinated by Africa, and Kenya in particular. After working for almost seven years in the corporate world, I had the chance to interact with a lot of start-ups, either mentoring them or investing in them.
So after some time, I decided to apply the knowledge and experience I’d gained to start my own business. I have three shops in Nairobi’s Gikomba market, with most of my containers offloaded in Donholm.
I sell my products to wholesalers looking to buy up to 100 bales – though, depending on the size of the bales, I can sell up to 10 bales at wholesale prices. I sell a bale at Sh4,000 to Sh19,000, depending on what’s inside, as well as sell some items on retail to boost profits.
The Standard Newspapper