If you are a Nairobi resident the bus station is not the space for you (a new place), right at the exit of the Nairobi bus station we meet Martin N g’ang’a allies Marto who regardless of him being a man is a very good nail polisher to whom most of his customers regard to as a friend and not just a business person.
Marto is a family man actually a father of four who lives at Huruma in Nairobi. Before starting the nail art job he used to sell clothes and did not have a business premise but could do the door delivery. Fortunately in the year 2012 as Marto was walking along the streets of Huruma he met two young men who used to do nail art but did not have a station so we could just call them mobile nail polishers. Marto had a lengthy chat with them and they inspired him to stop the clothes business and begin nail art which could at least help him deliver bigger ‘bread’ on the table each day.
It was not easy for him to decide to quit the clothes business, and start another business that he only theoretically understood. All in all for one to be a good entrepreneur he should be a risk taker, so Marto, like a soldier he stepped in the battlefield armed with only a place to start the business, his little knowledge of dealing with the customers as he had acquired from the clothes business and the most important ‘tool’ of his new business a friend who had the knowledge on nail art.
From the work at the exit of the bus station that Marto had acquired he graduated with the knowledge of nail art from his teacher and business partner Mwas. The two partners were now well equipped and ready to fight their way into the tough Nairobi market.” At first getting customers was harder than walking on water,” Marto told us. As days went on, they brought around brighter weeks, shiny months and finally each day began to be fruitful. They had no money to place any advertisement on even the cheapest community radio station of Huruma but they had the best marketing advertisement on earth which is tell a friend to tell a friend.
One and half years later, which is today as I and my friends pass by the exit of the bus station we meet Marto who today from his little business has managed to accumulate enough capital to even open up another nail art point you call it a branch if you wish so. Marto whom many do not know but have met him, regard as jobless for if you do not have a job in the Kenya of today many call you jobless. He is still called jobless for lack of a white collar job but he is a business man who earns enough to feed and educate his family and on top of that create jobs for four more Kenyans, and to my surprise Marto is even gender sensitive as the Kenyan constitution requires and has respected the one third gender rule in the constitution.
When speaking to Peninah Kawira one of the employees with a very satisfied smile on her face she said, ”I love my job, my boss is as nice as a father and I don’t see him as my boss for we work together with one goal, better our lives and grow our business.” And so happy again as if she was receiving her salary she continued with her work on nail art on her customer as if she had not even responded to my question. She had now made me feel so comfortable at the place that I almost violated my African traditions as a man and join my lady friends to have my nail polished.
By now I had taken a seat and just in front of me was Mary Kimani who after asking why she was wearing very expensively just like most of the Nairobi women but was still in that place having a nail art and not the uptown she told me, ”It all begins by the sense of humor, every human being wants to belong and the service of this place makes me feel as if I was having the nail art from the comfort of my bedroom .” But before I asked my next question she interrupted my thoughts by saying loudly and happily, “oh! The service is the best and cheapest in town, and the owner of this place is welcoming and good-hearted.”
It was now getting late and the equipments we had in our position (camera, stand and microphone) were to be returned to the office so we wished Marto all the best and thanked him for being an employer hence boosting the Kenyan’s economy. Just when we had finished packing our equipments Marto ordered Kawira to see us off to Tom Mboya street. On our way, Kawira had one message for the youths which she had always heard Marto tell them as his young employees, “Every youth of this nation must stop waiting for the government whether a graduand or not you should come out of the lazy world and work. A job is a job regardless of the class.”