“I refuse to lose.”
It’s this mantra that guided Sahara Designer’s founder through the highs and the lows in the development stage of his business. It helped him resist the naysayers and confront insecurities and self-doubt, to building a business he fell in love with right away. That kind of determination and drive still fuels Sahara Designers growth and daily activities.
Pull up a chair and a drink (Do you prefer tea or coffee? Find out what Sebastian prefers maybe) as the founder of Sahara Designers gets up close and personal and takes us behind the scenes of what it was like starting Sahara Designers, the good and not so good moments.
Let’s start with the idea. While Sebastian was in university, he came up with this brilliant idea of fabricating gift bags from old newspapers. The bags were not for commercial use at the time. Upon realising the potential of the idea, he tried selling the idea to a few of his friend, who bought into it, albeit reluctantly. A number of questions were raised since packaging in Kenya was largely dominated by polythene papers by then. The main huddle by then was to convince people to use bags made from old newspapers. This led to the search of an alternative type of paper that looked appealing to the customers. This is what led to recycled paper, as it looked neat and could allow printing on it. Kenyan wild animal prints were the main graphics that could be print on the bags, and only then was Sebastian convinced that this idea was great. So much so that he managed to convince a few individuals in the tourist industry to buy the items. With his small team they strategized on marketing the product but it wasn’t easy especially whenever he was back in school.
The group managed to get a few clients but like any other new project, sales were not sustainable. This led to the split of the group and individuals embarked on forming and marketing their own businesses since they now understood the concept.
The year 2008 September, Sahara Designers was born after strategizing and coming up with different quality of materials that could be used in making sustainable packaging material. Sebastian teamed up with his then girlfriend, who is his life partner today to market the product. The reception from customers was promising but they had a number of challenges to overcome. Among them was the issue of pricing, and competition from former group members.
Through sheer hard work and grit they have been able to do better. Also because of you as our customer.