The Nisisi Factory is a brand specialising in the design and manufacturing of bags. They use skilled craftsmen to produce high-quality, affordable and functional bags with an African touch.
Wairimu’s journey into fashion began whilst standing in line to buy a pair of jeans at an EPZ sale at KICC in Nairobi. “It was such a chaotic scene that made me wonder why we were standing in line in Kenya to buy products made by Kenyans.” Following this, a trip to Europe and an inability to find anything that fitted her and her brother properly spurred her to start her business.
The Nisisi Factory, with Nisisi translating to “it is us” in Kiswahili, in its name and its products, is a brand that represents the kind of people it targets, invoking pride in Kenyans and “digging into our aesthetic”.
Always knowing she would pursue a career in the creative world, Wairimu studied architecture but when the shoe didn't fit quite right, she decided to dip her foot into the world of fashion. She highlights that this transition was quite straightforward for her. “I think my academic background assisted in my reorientation into this new adventure because the design process is universal whether it is in houses or in bags or book covers”.
The Nisisi Factory is priced for the underserved market. Wairimu conveys that there are customers in the mid-tier market that do not have many reliable options that are affordable to them. “I like to think we are giving them an option and also changing their minds on the quality Kenyan brands can provide them.” The Nisisi Factory works with highly skilled artisans and serves to grow its business by growing others. Wairimu iterates “I want my brand to fully support as many artisans as possible and I would love to see artisan businesses grow and thrive because of the work they do for us”.
COVID-19 has shown Wiairimu the need for having a reliable local supply chain. Having initially relied heavily on supplies from China, she has understood the need to adapt and diversify her supplier base.
"We are hoping to get to a place where all the supplies we use in our products are produced within Kenya." Wairimu.