Second hand clothes are among fast moving commodities in Kenya. Majority prefer buying second hand clothes because of durability and affordability. As compared to buying an expensive new cloth in a high end shop, second hand clothes give value for less money.
Brief Mitumba Industry Background
Second hand clothing (also referred to as mitumba) is used clothing from first world countries. These clothing are collected and repackaged for sale in third world countries. Majority of second hand goods are destined for African countries like Ghana, Kenya, Senegal. Mitumba are in almost every aspect of our lives, from shoes to house utensils. In this article we are going to show you how to become a second hand cloth vendor in Kenya.
How to Start Mitumba Business
Apart from capital, mitumba business requires you to identify your customers beforehand. You have to pick a selling location that you intend to set up the business. There are three ways one can operate a small scale mitumba business in Kenya:
- Hawk – Involves taking around products around business and residential estates
- Set up a stall
- Sell online through social media
Each of the above mentioned methods work well with particular mitumba products.
Dealing in second hand clothing can accommodate any budget. You can start your business for as little as Kshs 200 or splash thousands into the business. The best part about this business is that it is always scalable regardless of the type of mitumba. A small amount can see you scale to thousands within a short period. What matters is the rate you are able to sell the goods.
Choosing What to Deal
As earlier stated, Mitumba is a general term of second hand commodities. As a budding entrepreneur you have to be specific on what to deal in depending with the market in mind. The fastest moving mitumba clothing includes fashionable women clothing, kids clothing & shoes. Once you know whom you are going to sell to then it should be easy to identify what to deal. Good observations are the hawkers we encounter on our streets daily. If keen, you will observe that they deal in what fits the area. You should emulate the same mentality.
Where to Buy Mitumba
Mitumba can be found in almost every open air market in Kenya. However, all these markets source their mitumba from one particular open air market: Gikomba. This market is located between Starehe and Kamkunji constituencies. It is so expansive that it gained the status of the largest open air market in Africa. The market has different segments each dealing in a different commodity.
- If you are interested in buying clothes then you can use the Kwa Chief entrance or the 8B Stage entrance. There are other 2 entrances (one near the Shauri Moyo Bridge and the other near shauri moyo Juakali). These extra 2 entrances are not favorable if you are coming from town.
- If you are interested in buying shoes then use the kwa Chief entrance or the entrance near the Shauri Moyo bridge.
- If you are interested in buying food stuffs either use the 8B Stage entrance or the Poster entrance.
- If you are interested in buying furniture then use the poster entrance.
You can get to Gikomba by boarding matatus number 7 that park at Luthuli Avenue near matatus that plight the Eastleigh route. These matatus will either bring you to the 8B entrance or the Kwa Chief entrance. There is a big mosque and Mumbai shopping mall at kwa Chief that you can use as landmark in case you get lost.
Precaution: If you are a first timer to Gikomba you need someone to guide you around. The market is ever full of people so be cautious of your belongings when rubbing shoulders. Cases of pickpocketing are quite common.
Best Time to Buy Mitumba
They say the early bird catches the worm and this saying perfectly applies to Gikomba. To get the best clothing (referred to as camera), you have to be at the market early. The shoes section starts operating as early as 5AM in the morning. The clothing section starts operating 6:30 AM. This is the time new bales of shoes and clothes are opened for sale by stall vendors. It is quite a competition as everyone struggles to get the best before anyone else. Also the best day to visit Gikomba is on a Monday morning.
When buying clothes and shoes, pick as many as possible then set them aside. Once satisfied with the number you have, start sorting them to find the ones that please you. You will adapt to the rhythm of the market within two to three visits.
You can also buy a full bale from a bale dealer in one of the Gikomba stores. Buying a full bale is advisable if only you are buying to sell in another market. Otherwise pick products one-by-one to ensure you only have the best for sale. Handpicking reduces the risk of remaining with dead stock.
Within the market are tailors and cobblers in case the shoes or clothes bought are defective and needs repair or adjustments. They are extremely professional and affordable. For instance the dhobi can iron bulk clothes for you at Kshs 3 for each cloth.
Selling what you’ve bought shouldn’t be an uphill if you had already identified a market. You can resell mitumba in upcountry markets, hawk in estates, or open a mitumba stalls or shop. Another ingenious way of selling mitumba is through advertising on social media in groups. You can also form a WhatsApp group or create a Facebook page to sell to your friends and family.
Research suggests that women are easy spenders than men. Dealing in women and kids clothing tends to be much profitable. Kids and women clothing at Gikomba are cheap as compared to men’s commodities at Gikomba.
If you are thinking of starting a mitumba business but lack guidance, make use of the form below. We will offer professional assistance. We can also organize a guide for you to take you around the market at a fee.
Buy our Contact list for mitumba bale dealers in Gikomba.
If you want to import Mitumba in bulk get in touch.