My livelihood is in your nails
Wilson Odhiambo Opiyo aka Odhis Ja Quetex (Odhis the nail polish man) specializes in offering manicure in Kisumu Town, of Kisumu County.This was not his original business but was initiated into it by a dramatic incident that happened one day.
This incident changed his business and life as a whole. Odhis, as he is known in the business world ended up as a hawker in the streets of Kisumu town, after failing to complete his Secondary school education, dropping out at form two level.
One day while going about his usual business in Manyatta area in Kisumu, he met a lady who asked if he also sold nail polish. Odhis did not have the polish then so the lady gave him ksh 25 to purchase and bring one for her the following day.
As his tradition, he would start his day by replenishing his stock before beginning his business, so he remembered the nail polish that he was sent by the lady to purchase. After purchasing the polish he set out in his hawking business hoping to deliver the polish later in the day.
He decided to carry the polish openly in his hands as he did the other wares he sold. Along the way, she met a lady who inquired if the polish was for sale or if he could apply the polish on her nails, of course for a price. Odhis honestly told the lady that he did not know how to apply the polish but if the lady could apply it and still pay him it was ok. The lady applied it to both her finger and toe nails and paid him ksh 20.
He proceeded with on his way and again met four other ladies, who as the first lady she met inquired about the polish. Odhis gave the same answer and the ladies obliged. They paid him ksh 100. This went on during the day and by the time she reached the owner of the polish, he had acquired over ksh 200 while having sold none of his wares.
That night, he had a sleepless night. His mind was troubled how he made such an amount of money with the polish. The following morning instead of adding his regular stock, he decided to try out some nail polish of his own. He purchased three bottles of polish; two red and one purple.
He set out to Kibuye market to continue with his hawking business and also try out the nail polish venture. Just like the previous day, she allowed the ladies to apply the polish by themselves after which they pay him. This was in the year 1999. Odhis later found out about a solution called a nail polish remover.
In his initial stages of applying the polish himself, he trembled and sometimes made a mess of the painting but he got encouraged by the ability to clean using the nail polish remover and as they say, the rest is history.
During the initial stages of his new venture, he faced stigma and ridicule from people especially his siblings. They were not at ease with the idea of a man daily engaging with women and beauty affairs, but knowing what he wanted and what he was getting from the business he soldiered on.
Among the entire stigma, he found an oasis of hope and encouragement from Millicent AokoOdhiambo aka Mama Sam, his wife who always told him to shun the negative people and always keep his eyes on his goals and family.
Despite the grim unemployment statistics in the Country, Odhis is proud to be part of the solution by being a job creator. He has now trained and engaged three other young ladies in his business now runs his business in stall number 13 at Lake Market in Kisumu’s Central business district. He is currently training a new member of his staff.
He has been able to accomplish so much with his business. It helps him take care of his family’s basic needs and also starting up family projects. Recently he acquired a piece of land he hopes to build rental houses so as to add to the family income.
`I encourage the youth to love and respect any kind of work or business they choose to do, concentrate and put efforts in whatever you are doing so as to see its fruits.`
Tune in to RadioNamlolwe fm every Thursday from 11am for more inspirational stories from ordinary citizens making ends meet by their noble joble,only on Tich en Tich (Work is work).