Let’s talk about quality. Specifically made in Kenya quality.
How it started
For the longest time, Kenyans have associated Kenyan manufacturers or producers, or artists with low quality.
Why is that?
Because the mentality of most Kenyans in the past has always been to put out shoddy work as fast and as quickly as possible in order to get paid and move on to the next project. It’s an attitude that back in the day was prevalent in most industries.
Politicians would pocket government funding given to them for construction projects and put up shoddy, incomplete roads and buildings at the expense of the consumer. Music industry artists would produce terrible quality music. Simply content with the 15 minutes of fame they were getting from being on TV. And clothing manufacturers and designers would do low-quality work under the excuse that went something like, “At least I’m trying. If they want higher quality they should import. This is the best I can do.”
How it's going
Then something happened. And that thing was called the internet. Well, both the internet and time. Now all of a sudden for the entrepreneur making fashion items the competition was global so they had to step up their game. As a designer, the fabric can now be sourced from anywhere, no excuses. With the right vigilance and effort, even metal buttons can be made in Kenya as seen below.
And in music, YouTube happened. Well, Youtube and artists such as Sauti Sol.
Sauti Sol raised the bar for what quality Kenyan music was. As an artist, you couldn’t get away with a mediocre product and the right connections anymore. You now needed to understand and serve the consumer. Your consumer. Serve him/her to a world-class standard.
When we at King Sidney began making these designer jackets a few years back, we instinctively understood all this.
I understood that the customer does not give a damn where it’s from, especially if that customer is a grown man, as most of my clients tend to be. I understood that the client only cared about leaving a powerful impression at his event. Only cared about having thoughts of him linger in the minds of his guests after he had left the room. Only cared about the fact that his wife would develop a strong newfound attraction for him after all those years of marriage once she saw how dashingly handsome he looked in a King Sidney jacket.
Imported from Nairobi
So you know what I think about the Buy Kenya Build Kenya slogan? Fuck it. Don’t do us any favors. Buy the best for you.
But I promise you this. With the kind of work my fellow new school entrepreneurs and I are doing in terms of the exceptional nature of the product as well as a strong understanding of the Kenyan consumer, nine times out of ten, the best will be a made-in Kenya brand. No two ways about it.
You can’t escape destiny.