VALENTINE OMANGIL: FASHION IS MY PASSION

Valentine Omangil, founder, Divah Thrifty shop.
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Capitalizing on opportunity, a second year student  establishes   Divah Thrifty shop for ladies

By Ruth Rabala

You would assume that computer geeks don’t have a sense of fashion. Meet Valentine OmangiI a student at Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA) University taking bachelor of arts degree  in computer science. Currently in her second year of study, her obsession with fashion runs deep. It is  in her psyche. She views the world through the eyes of a designer.

Omangil   is a self-taught makeup artist with an elevated sense of fashion. “Fashion has always set my mood since I was seven and in future I would even opt to shift my career to indulge fully into aesthetics,” she happily asserts. Partly, as a way to release her pent up creative energies, she dived into entrepreneurship, choosing to start small rather than waiting for the perfect time when she will be done with school. Since childhood,  she had dreamt of running a thrift high end apparels not only to inspire people with stylish outfits,  but also provide high quality items at affordable rates.

Ambitious

The other reason that led her to entrepreneurship was, like any other young person, going through campus life demand for  finances. Oftentimes funds provided by parents or guardians are not adequate. To some, this prompts them to find a way to earn money to make ends meet. It is this hurdle that propelled Omangil who naturally took fashion to generate some cash while doing what makes her heart sing.

It is common knowledge that ladies make a huge market for clothing and apparel. Granted, Omangil opted to deal in feminine wear because she accessed the market and saw room for growth. Unlike in men where key apparels are shirts, trousers, shoes, socks and jackets (which they rarely buy), for ladies the universe of products is wide.

Ranging from dresses, skirts, blouses, suits, wigs, handbags, shoes to beauty cosmetics, women wear appealed to her. To get business she says you have to understand your clients’ preference and takes. Fashion is all about a sense of style. She sells her items across campus and its environs , her target market being teenage girls and women who are into fashion and trendy wears.

Some of the clothes on display at Divah Thrifty shop.

Obstacles

Any business has its own challenges. Omangil has encountered a fair portion of them. Her main challenge has been finding quality products consistently. Substandard products may result in loss of clients because once they buy fake items they will not be back to buy again. “Due to the nature of a thrift store,  products stocked can vary significantly in terms of quality and this reduces the net worth of the stock,” she notes adding, “I am always on the look for eye-catchy products to avoid dead stock.”

Another hindrance is insufficient capital. To run a business –  especially in the fashion industry – you have to spend resources in marketing your products. Given that her business is still small she doesn’t have enough resources to market her wares. Nonetheless, she uses social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Most of her clients make orders online, more so through her Instagram page.

Some of the clothes on display at Divah Thrifty shop.

Future plans

 While many students who   are   still in campus shirk away from venturing into entrepreneurship, she encourages them to start. ”No amount of funds will ever be enough to start! Just work with what you have and your effort will always pay back; making profits and losses is part of business and no negatives should weigh you down. In business you need to practice a lot of discipline for it to be a success,” she opines.

Her future aspirations are to expand her business owing to the fact that her current space doesn’t seem to accommodate her growing stock. “I would also like to export my products from well established brands to meet needs for my high end clientele and to boost sales,” Omangil adds.

Valentine at a glance

Typical day: Wakes up at 6:30 am. Goes to the pick-up point to collect new stock (on pick up days). She hits the gym before proceeding with the normal daily activities. Later in the day, she engages with her social media accounts to carry out sales. Winds down her day by helping out her siblings with school work.

Hobbies: Reading, travelling and sampling out fashion styles.

Favourite cuisine: Japanese sushi served with pork and fresh fruit juice.

Favourite quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Marital status: Single.

Dream car: Audi Q5.

Parting shot: The thought of having it in mind has a guaranteed qualification of making it a reality since it’s born inside you. Do it today!

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