Ann was working as a nursery school teacher before she ditched her job to start selling fruits. The fruit market is large and with a stable supply of fruits, you can reap big. To make it in the business, you need to have access to large scale fruit farmers and good business location with large on foot traffic. This is how Ann started her fruit vending business.
Ann started the business after getting frustrated with her job. She worked as a nursery school teacher and she relied on payment by parents as her salary. Ann liked her job even though it was not paying her enough money to cater to her needs. All she needed was a source of livelihood and something that would keep her moving throughout the month.
Her work as a nursery school teacher was much apart from teaching children. She would pick children from their homes and go with them to school. In the evening she would also make sure that every child had gotten home. Sometimes when it was raining and muddy, she had to sacrifice and get a boda boda to ride her and some children to school. She hoped one day her efforts would pay off when the children excelled academically.
Her salary was Ksh 500 per month per child. On average, her class used to have 15 children. This meant that her salary was supposed to be Ksh 7,500 on average. However, payment from parents would hardly get to Ksh 4,000. Many parents would pay half and never to pay the rest while others would pay nothing at all. She didn't mind, all she wanted is to see her children excel.
How Ann Started Her Fruit Vending Business
When Covid-19 was announced in Kenya in March 2020, things took a different turn for her. The government closed down schools and her source of income got affected. She would no longer teach or make Ksh 1,000 a month. She had o look for a different source of income. She only had Ksh 7,000 and the only business that she would open and start generating revenues was fruit vending. It is then she decided to start selling fruits in Karatina town.
In Karatina, she could easily get fruits from farmers and sell them in the market. She didn't have a place to set up her stall at the time, but she was lucky to get one free of charge from a trader. Doors opened for her and she was able to get farmers who would supply her with different fruits in large scale.
Some of the fruits she sells include bananas, pawpaws, oranges, apples, passion fruits, watermelons and mangoes. Her business picked immediately since her prices were a much lower compared to those of her competitors. She was buying fruit from farmers directly without going through middlemen who make the prices commodities go high.
Ann's Profits from Her Fruit Vending Business
Ann makes at least Ksh 15,000 from her fruit vending business. Sometimes, the profits can go as high as Ksh 20,000, especially during festivities months like December. Although Covid-19 disrupted her teaching job, while many people lost their jobs, through it, she was able to reorganize her life. Ann decided to quit teaching and concentrate on her fruit vending business. She sells her fruits from a temporary stall and she is planning to move to a permanent one.
Challenges Ann Faces in Fruit Vending Business
Ann sells fruits in an open field. All she has is a temporary stall and when it rains, she cannot operate her business. She plans to rent a bigger and permanent stall where she can leave her stock overnight.
The other challenge Ann faces is her stock going bad from time to time. There is an imbalance in demand for fruits. Sometimes the demand is very high while other times it is low. Sometimes she can stock more fruits only for the demand to go down. The result is usually her stock going bad. She plans to buy a freezer to store the fruits and reduce wastage. However, she cannot buy one until she moves into a permanent stall. Otherwise, it will be stolen.
Also, she has a challenge with the storage of stock. Apart from the fruits over-ripening, she cannot leave them in her stall. As such, she has to rent a warehouse where she pays a high cost. When she moves to a better stall, she will expand her business to start blending fruits and reduce expenses like warehouse costs.