Beryl Munyui discovers her artistic talent and reaps big on creativity
Passion is one of the most effective motivators when it comes to launching a business. Finding your passion is sometimes about finding your place. Such is the case for a veterinary doctor who quit her job to pursue the business of interior and exterior décor.
“Despite having trained as a veterinary doctor, I always knew that I am gifted in the arts. The confirmation for this gut feeling came two years ago when a close friend consulted me for advice on how to design her office in a unique way,” explains Beryl Munyui.
This request intrigued her and had her imaginations go wild. Her artistic spirit was at work and what resulted from this pursuit was an idea, too unique yet aesthetic enough to become a disruption in the interior and exterior décor industry.
She had landed at the idea of recycling tyres to make furniture. This idea worked out so well and appealed to her customer who had love for recycled material. Her new idea became an instant hit. “The different colours and the extraordinary shape of the resultant furniture drew more and more people.”
After producing her first batch of office furniture made of purely recycled tyres, many people started calling her as they sought to customize their homes and offices. Before she knew it, her simple idea had turned into a business.
With the recycled furniture business, she has never looked back. This is the reason she founded Nigida interior and exterior design limited to serve more people who appreciate use of the recycled furniture. “Operating an interior and exterior décor business requires more than just furniture. Customers will come requesting for an entire makeover of their spaces and so an entrepreneur, I had to think outside the box and bring in more products,” she explains. Nigida interior and exterior design today sells the tyre furniture, curtains, curtain holders and tiebacks for curtains. For interior décor, she also designs and sells furniture for homes, offices and schools.
In outdoor décor, her firm does landscaping as well as design and sale of outdoors furniture, with tyre seats being a hot favourite for many people.
Munyui targets mostly people with small homes who in most cases have back yards and would like furniture for these spaces. Apart from these are offices, and anyone who appreciates the use of recycled materials as well as those who like blending art with nature.
Due to the many customers that she has since acquired through word of mouth marketing and social media, she has turned her Edenville estate home along Kiambu road into a workshop.
To make the business fit into her compound, she only makes the recycled furniture on order.
“The tyre furniture can be quite voluminous and therefore require sufficient space for storage. That is why we don’t make the furniture without order,” she explains.
Munyui says that she is happy that most Kenyans are slowly accepting to use items made from recycled materials, a big boost for her business.
Turning an old tyre into an adorable piece of furniture can be a tedious exercise.
The process of making the tyre seats starts with collecting the tyres. “We collect tyres or buy from people who have tyres that can no longer be used. However, they have to be neat, and without any wires hanging out.” Once they have been acquired, they are then cleaned of all the dust and any other dirt and then left to dry. The next step is to fix them together. For tyre seats, a mesh is then woven on top of tyres. Some tyres are fashioned into high end tables.
This however, depends on the shape of the piece of furniture being made. The wire mesh is meant to make the seat comfortable and springy. The tyre are then painted in different colours depending on the taste of the client. There are health hazards involved in this process.
“The paint as expected has a strong smell and therefore, while painting it is absolutely necessary to put on protective gas mask to avoid inhaling the paint,” she explains. It takes her up to two hours to make one tyre chair as long as she has all the materials ready.
The process ends when she makes cushions for the seats. She points out that some customers prefer the tyre seats without the cushions. Munyui’s love for abstract art inspires her designs.
Munyui works with various craftsmen to paint the tyres according to the clients’ specifications. “I get the craftsmen depending on the complexity of the furniture on order,” she adds. The tyre seats range from 10 500 shillings to 13 000 shillings depending on the size. She says that this business can be slow but it is a well-paying business.
To reach as many people she can, she uses face book and word of mouth as a marketing tool.
Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
Munyui’s experience in business has taught her that the best kind of business to venture in is one that involves passion. “By doing a business that one enjoys doing, one is most likely to do well in it, because every step of it is fun,” she says.
Her next goal is to scale up her business and reach as many people as possible. “I am planning to get the business to other parts of the country and beyond. There is so much potential especially in the corporate and I hope to get companies advertise their brands on tyre furniture, she concludes.