In Summary
  • She has showcased her attires in various exhibitions including ‘Havana International fair,2016’, ‘She trades Global 2018’ and Magical Kenya Tourism Expo 2018.
  • The most remarkable moment for her was when Kenyan veteran actor Kenneth Ambani wore a shirt she had designed to the African Prestigious awards 2018 in Ghana.
  • Makadem—the nyatiti player—also wore one of Wacu’s creation—a long-sleeved t-shirt-- during his 2018 Europe tour.

Entrepreneurship is not foreign to one Wacu Kihara. The 47-year old has tried her hand at various profitable ventures including dairy farming, event planning, décor and flower arrangement and at one point she grew and supplied potatoes to hotels in Naivasha.

However, life has a way of steering us back to our true north and for Wacu, that meant being a fashion designer. This had been her dream career since the tender age of 11.

“When I young I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer but I kept being told to think of a more conventional career,” she says.

Fortunately, one of her aunts encouraged her to follow her heart and this kept her dream alive.

TRAINING

After completing her A levels in 1995, Wacu went to Italy where she studied Fashion Design at an institution called POLIMODA: Istituto Internazionale Politecnico Della Moda.

She completed her course successfully and came back to the country, excited to put what she had learnt abroad to practice.

Her first career move was to register a fashion design company called Back to Black designs that specialised in African attire. For the next four years, business was great.

Her designs saw her bag a number of prestigious awards including 1st prize for ladies and 2nd prize for men in the ‘Search for a National Costume competition 1995’, as well as a 3rd prize under the professional category in the Smirnoff International Fashion Awards(SIFA).

Wacu Kihara showcases her designs during the Sourcing at MAGIC 2017 in Las Vegas.

Wacu Kihara showcases her designs during the Sourcing at MAGIC 2017 in Las Vegas. PHOTO | COURTESY

In her fifth year running the business, things started to go wrong. A disharmony developed between Wacu and the tailors she worked with. Sometimes she gave them designs but they could not quite grasp and produce designs that matched her specifications.

This continued for a while and the harsh reality sunk in: things were not working. And so, she quit.

Discouraged, Wacu sought employment and secured a job as a business administrator. The entrepreneurial spirit in her made her restless as an employee and in 2006, she quit employment and relocated to Naivasha to pursue farming.

“I planted wheat and potatoes which I supplied to hotels in Naivasha. I also got some dairy cows whose milk I supplied to Brookside Dairy Limited,” she narrates.

EVENT ORGANISER

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