Potter moulds profits from ceramics enterprise
Posted Monday, April 16 2012 at 17:22
A leap of faith. That is a phrase that could be used to describe Patrick Esenerwa’s decision to quit his job and start a ceramics business whose unique offering is high-end handmade jewellery and pottery, with the latter made on order.
On graduating from Kenyatta University with a degree in Fine Art, Mr Esenerwa landed a job in a ceramics factory. However, he did not last long in employment.
In 2008, Esenerwa quit his job after he met two partners interested in starting a business in ceramics. However, the joint venture did not last long.
In 2009, Mr Esenerwa’s business partners withdrew after they found out that the returns did not flow in as fast as they had expected.
He was left to operate Wukenii Creations, as a sole proprietor.
The company, whose name means ‘wake up’ in Taita language, is based in Kahawa Wendani Estate, Nairobi.
Since then, the entrepreneur has been working to build a business that is inspired by nature and caters for the growing number of customers who appreciate handicraft.
“They want something original because they would be the only ones who own it. They want something that cannot be imitated,” he says.
As soon as Mr Esenerwa was left to build and oversee the business alone, he embarked on a marketing campaign for the enterprise.
His products received a positive response during the Crafts of Africa Expo at Sarit Centre, his first exhibition, and he made a profit.
“My stuff was good but basic. However, this gave me the motivation to continue. I have since improved quality of my products,” he says.
Wukenii Creations has grown over time and the business now has five employees — two women who work from home and three men based at the workshop.
Apart from marketing, Mr Esenerwa also designs the beads, pottery and jewellery including choosing the colours. As a trained potter, he also produces some the clayware.
He mainly sells the ceramics at exhibitions such as Soko Soko, Bizarre Bazaar, Eco-fair, Nairobi Fashion Market and Eclectic Jewellery at the Village Market.
He also markets the products at the Westgate Shopping mall on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on their Chap Chap carts.
Other outlets include the Crowne Plaza gift shop, Beth International at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and exports some products to Senegal, Canada and UK.