How to start a profitable mitumba business in Kenya

stores on a sidewalk selling thrifted(mitumba) clothes

How to start a profitable mitumba business in Kenya. Mitumba business is one of the most profitable businesses in Kenya. According to a Reuters report, an estimate of 100,000 tonnes of mitumba clothes is imported to Kenya annually.

These tonnes of imported mitumba generate millions of revenue and jobs for most Kenyan citizens and especially, young people. The best thing about this venture is that you can start the business with less than Ksh.20,000 capital.

If you have been wondering how you can start a second-hand clothes business, then this article is for you.


Let’s get started;

4 factors to consider before starting a mitumba business in Kenya

1. Capital

You can start a small mitumba business with roughly Ksh.500 to Ksh.1,000.

However, for a medium mitumba business, you can start with Ksh.20,000 to Ksh.100,000.

For those who would love to start a large mitumba business, arm yourself with more than Ksh.100,000.

From this breakdown, you can clearly tell that your capital will determine the size of the mitumba business you can start with.

2. Identify the target market

Prior to starting any business, it is very important to think about your target market. When thinking about selling second-hand clothes, you can create your own target market. You can target your colleagues, neighbors, door to door, villagers, or even online marketing among others.

3. Location

The online market is one of the easiest to start compared to physical stores because it spares you the expenses like business licenses, rent, and electricity bills among others.

The online market is easy to start as all you need is a Facebook page, Instagram account, and WhatsApp group (s).

In order for you to gain maximum profit, make sure you give unique advantages that your competitors are not offering. For instance, you can offer to deliver goods to buyers of specific areas or give a discount for items bought online. Just do your research and learn about your competitors and what they are doing.

It is important to ensure that your items are unique. It will help you increase your chances of making a profit.

For those with enough capital, however, you can opt for a physical store.

The location should have high traffic. For maximum profits, you can consider selling clothes in a physical location and online as well.

4. The supplier

Before starting a mitumba business, it is very important to locate a reputable and reliable supplier. You can either buy stock in bales or randomly pick individual items at a wholesale price.

For starters, you can go for the latter.

In order to make a profit, the supplier should have reasonable prices. Eastleigh, Muthurwa, and Gikomba markets are the main suppliers of second-hand clothes in Nairobi.


Buying stock in bales

Instead of picking clothes randomly for resale, you might prefer purchasing the stock in bales. By so doing, you get more stock at very pocket-friendly deals.

Furthermore imported second-hand clothes in Kenya come from European nations, Japan, Australia, Germany, Canada, the UK, China, and the USA among other developed countries.

The UK supplies the best quality of mitumba clothes, making these clothes slightly expensive.

Dubai is also a good source of quality mitumba clothes, but relatively cheaper.

For oversized clothes, Canada is a great source.

Likewise, a bale of kid’s clothing in China will cost you Ksh.10,000 while in Europe the same bale will cost you Ksh.30,000. However, the difference is that European clothes have higher quality, as opposed to those from China.

It is more profitable to import kids’ second-hand clothes because they contain lots of goodies with exception of lighter attire. You can either import mitumba clothes or buy a bale from interior markets like Gikomba.

a stack of blue thrifted(mitumba)jeans

Is the mitumba market saturated?

One of the major things that keep people from engaging in the mitumba venture is thinking that it is already saturated.

However, the truth is that this market is not saturated but highly profitable.

With only Ksh.1,000, you are ready to start a small mitumba business and earn at least Ksh.500 profit.

As you can tell, this is much better than spending the whole day at home, waiting for someone to notice your letter of application from thousands of others on their desk, or even worse staying at home doing nothing.

This is a great opportunity because annually, Kenya imports 100,000 tonnes of mitumba, creating millions of jobs for young people. By targeting middle-income earners, you will be able to earn profit and grow your business.

“The only issue in this business is people coming in and expecting to make millions during their first day. They are not open to handling the risks involved in the business,” says Shem Spiess, a mitumba trader through his marketing page on Facebook.


Why mitumba business is a profitable venture

It is very wrong to assume that the mitumba business is a tedious and costly job with less income. Of course, it takes hard work to make a profit and grow a business, but your profit hugely relies on your marketing strategies and commitment.

Here are some of the reasons why the mitumba business is a profitable venture.

  1. Easy to start: In Kenya, you can start the mitumba business with as little as Ksh.5,000 or less.

2. Ready market: Second-hand clothes have a high demand in Kenya.

3. Variety of clothes: There are numerous types of clothes that you can choose from in order to start your mitumba business. Depending on your own preference, you can choose to specialize in kids’ men’s or women’s clothing.

4. No educational requirements: In order to start a successful mitumba business, tertiary-level education is not a requirement. In Kenya, there are numerous school dropouts who have started the mitumba business and earned millions from it.

Nonetheless, business skills are required to put you ahead of the pack.

Potential areas to start a mitumba business in Nairobi

  1. *Kasarani
  2. *Umoja
  3. *Dagoretti
  4. *Pipeline
  5. *Kibera
  6. *Thika
  7. *Saika
  8. *Kawangware
  9. *Gikomba
  10. *Mutindwa
  11. *Ngara
  12. *Mlolongo
  13. *Githurai
  14. *Embakasi
  15. *Muthurwa
  16. *Syokimau
  17. *Ruiru
  18. *Rwaka

Best places to start mitumba business around Mombasa

  1. *Chaani market
  2. *Buxton market
  3. *Mwembeni, Soko mjinga
    Kongowea market
  4. *Sega market
  5. *Mackinnon market
  6. *Majengo market
  7. *Kisauni


a stack of thrifted(mitumba) t-shirts

Most profitable mitumba clothes

There are grades that categorize mitumba clothes based on quality. These four grades include the following;

Grade A

This is a grade of mitumba clothes that are almost new. Their condition and quality are untampered with. They are the most profitable but also relatively expensive.

Grade B

These second-hand clothes are used, but slightly, leaving them in good condition.

Grade C

These are second-hand clothes that come with minor defects including dents and ink spills. These defects can be corrected before the sale.

Grade D

These second-hand clothes come with major defects that cannot be adjusted by the seller. They are sold the cheapest because of their condition.

From this categorization, Grade A clothes are the most profitable because they feature high quality and are in almost new condition.

Nonetheless, various cloth types do well in different locations based on different factors.

For instance; investing in jackets in Limuru will be highly profitable because the place is cold, as opposed to having the same investment in a place like Mombasa.

Various mitumba clothes you can start with include;

  • *Mixed blouses
  • *Men’s official trousers
  • *Ladies’ cotton pants (official trousers)
  • *Children jackets
  • *Leggings (stockings)
  • *Jeggings (heavy)
  • *Lady T-shirts (fancy tops)
  • *Schoolbags
  • *Skirts (for both young and middle-aged women)
  • *Dresses
  • *Shoes

This is an ultimate guide that will give you an idea of how to start a mitumba business in Kenya. Playing your cards right in this business is a major plus to creating a successful mitumba business. Hard work and commitment are a must as this is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

This article was first shared in the PROFITABLE BUSINESS IDEAS WhatsApp group

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