Laundry is a very essential aspect of daily living most especially to women since they are known to be the “housekeepers”. However, when it comes to delving into the act as a business venture, many shy away from it. The business of dry cleaning is often seen as a demeaning one and people that summon the courage to go on with the business are often looked down on.

Mrs Patience Nyaoga, the CEO, Tintoria in a recent interview with Amazons Watch Magazine, shares her experiences in the dry cleaning industry and how fulfilling it has been. Excerpt:

In a few sentences, please describe the person of PATIENCE NYAOGA.

Patience Nyaoga is a focused, kind, passionate, God-fearing, fun-loving and hospitable person.

Did you have any fears, growing up as a young girl? What were some of your choice dreams and aspirations?

Yes. I feared snakes. In the business front, Initial fears are always associated with business especially of this magnitude at different fronts However I have the necessary management and marketing expertise and experience, computerized systems in place and steadfast consistent support from my staff and family.   When I was growing up I was always a confident child due to supportive parents. They believed in me and my choices. I had to overcome my fears and limitations and I chose to follow my dreams and calling.  But by the grace of God through prayer, the fears were overcome. You must have a dream that drives you like Esther and has passion for your dream to take you through the challenges that will emerge. Never give up on your dreams. Let God be your guide in both family and business.  I was guided by the bible verse in Ephesians 6: 1-3 Children obey your parents so it may be well with you.

Qualification is known to be one of the prerequisites to building a successful career and business. In your opinion, does this hold true for the dry cleaning business?  If yes, what are the qualifications required to stay successful in this industry?

Yes, this is true qualification is one of the tools of building a successful business but not just the only one. You need Capital, business acumen, a network of customers, good workforce, qualified staff, strategy, innovation, creativity, consistency, goodwill, and family Support. We also maintain a competitive edge by building a good image through branding and we stand out from the crowd by giving personalized and quality service to meet the customer needs and wants timely so customers get value for money. We are guided by a code of conduct for staff and company rules and regulations.

You have attributed your success to your upbringing. Kindly tell us some of your most unforgettable memories that groomed you into the woman you have become?

I was brought up in a family which had a strong value system with discipline consistently and personal management skills and overall, it was a focused upbringing. I was a disciplined child and I feared my parents as they were strict as they had set very high standards for me as the firstborn child.  I did not want to disappoint them.  In the end, it worked out for me.  While I was doing it for them it benefited me.  I was guided by the bible verse Ephesians 6verse 1 to 3. Children obey your parents so it may be well with you.

Family is everything to you. How have you managed to share your time between family and business?

Yes. It’s a give and take a scenario in life.  I have always strived to keep this balance between family and business though it is not always easy to achieve a perfect balance due to various dynamics.  I have shared responsibilities as I cannot do everything on my own. I am grateful for a supportive spouse and good workers generally. I believe in relationships that build you up.

There are many women who are into businesses like yours but have not been able to break even. This is because of their inability to save up money while putting money back into the business. What are some of the tips women can employ in order to be able to save properly?

Savings culture. The mindset to set aside funds in order to achieve business objectives is necessary.  Savings must be intentional.  Business is service to others and it requires commitment.  Others include employees and customers etc. Business at large is a challenging venture and requires certain skills. One of the skills is financial discipline and prudent management of resources. Many women who lack this skill struggle in business. To be able to achieve these, funds are a prerequisite and it would be useful to have investments which can be liquidated in case of emergencies and cash. Therefore investment in other assets is good practice.

What do you think can be done to curb actions that bring about marginalization along gender lines?

Advocacy and Legislation is important to bring this reality. Procurement rules of 30 percent currently in place in Kenya and the 2/3 gender rule whereby no one gender will hold positions in public institutions is a good move Marginalization in some respects is self-influenced as it results from fear by women to get into business or capital businesses because of a perception that they are the domain of men. Discrimination against women spans cultural and legal issues. The society looks at a woman as if she can’t manage an enterprise. There is general discrimination against a woman in the African society which you cannot push aside.  These need to be addressed and changed in order to empower women worldwide. I realize that property rights prevent other women from accessing financing. Women are not able to obtain loans because of a lack of property ownership. A lot of property in the country is owned by men most of them to the exclusion of their spouses.

What were your highest and lowest moments in the course of your journey as a businesswoman? And in few words, what will be your advice to women who seek to venture into this path that you have chosen?

The low moments are when we lose a big corporate customer and High moments when a new branch picks up its operations successfully however the biggest challenge is cut-throat competition and price undercutting. There is a need to establish an association of dry cleaning and laundry owners to deal with issues affecting the industry.

Where do you see TINTORIA in the next five years?

In five years I would like to drive Tintoria to achieve its vision and mission of being the No.1 dry cleaners all over east Africa and possibly Africa for access to world-class service in dry cleaning and laundry to people in this part of the world and to be a great institution. We plan to continue giving executive service to the customers and to follow after our target market as per our strategic plan 2015 – 2019.

Who would you say is your favourite author?

Robin Sharma is my favourite Author especially the book “The Leader with No Title

What’s the best way for the readers of Amazons Watch Magazine to connect with you?

The readers can contact me through  

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