Christine had worked for over five years in a private clinic as a cleaner. At the time, she was earning Ksh 15,000 and sometimes where would make more by working overtime. However, when Covid-19 was reported in March 2020, most businesses closed down, while others slowed their operations.
People started fearing to go to hospitals and this made the clinic she was working for to generate few revenues. Her employer was forced to reduce the workforce to survive due to reduced revenues. Christine was among those who lost her job and she had to look for a way to survive and pay her bills.
How Christine Started Selling Face Masks to Pay her Bills
Christine decided to start selling masks in Makuyu town. Initially, the idea behind her starting to sell masks was to keep her busy and avoid stressing out about losing her job. Luckily, Christine says she doesn't regret having started to sell masks since she makes over Ksh 10,000 a month. It is not much, but at least it keeps her moving.
She orders masks in wholesale from Nairobi or Thika. She buys one pack containing 50 masks at Ksh 500 in wholesale. She then sells each mask at Ksh 20, giving her 100 percent profit. In a day, she can sell at least 30 masks. She says Sundays are her best days since most people buy masks when they are going to church. Every Sunday, she sells over 50 masks and makes at least Ksh 500 profit.
How Christine Manages Her Face Masks Business
Christine wakes up earlier on Sundays compared to other days and goes to start selling masks. By 6 am, she is usually have opened her business. She closes her face mask business by 10 am to prepare to go to church. Weekdays the face mask business is usually slow during the day since most people are usually at work. On weekdays, she opens her business at 7 am to sell masks to those going to work.
Although Covid-19 has brought about a lot of disruptions, there are people making lemonade out of it. People need to look for other ways to survive and make a living.
Challenges Christine Faces while Selling Masks
The major challenge in her face mask business is the lack of regular supply for the masks. She has to go to Nairobi to get the masks. This takes the time she would have otherwise been selling, while she also uses an extra cost on transport. She says she sees this as an opportunity to start supplying masks in wholesale to shops.
The other challenge is long hours of standing. She operates her business at bus stops and as such, she has to keep going to every vehicle that stops to see if there is any passenger who may need a mask.
Also, people mostly buy masks in the morning while they are going to work or in the evening when they leave work. During the daytime, she barely sells enough masks to sustain her. For this reason, she is looking for something else she can be doing during the daytime.
Read also: How to start a barbershop business in Kenya.
Christine Advice to Those who Lost Jobs Due to Covid-19
Christine says that coming to terms after losing a job is the most challenging thing. Tomorrow becomes filled with lots of uncertainties. However, facing reality and accepting facts helps one to start planning.
It helps you get relived and think about the next move. People must avoid being idle after losing a job. Most people tend to overthink, which leads to stress and can lead to depression. Luckily, there are many things one can do to keep him or her busy, even if it is volunteering at work.
Also, it is good that people get to discover their hobbies and talents. Having a hobby is essential and can keep you busy and you can also get an income out of it. Talents can help discover a business idea to invest in. Try and remain positive and don't hold grudges with your former employer. It is a great thing to be fired and leave honorably.