When Susan Ndung’u was struggling with her weight, she didn’t think it would give rise to her now most precious and lucrative business.
It all started in October 2015 when Susan had just come back from China for further studies.
“I was privileged to study overseas and I was explored to different types of body shapers and I was able to get original shapers for sale.” She told The Exchange in an interview, adding “My inspiration came from my aunty who had a perfect figure.”
Since her discovery of the body shapers, she says her confidence was then restored.
“I could now walk with my head held high.” He adds.
Susan’s main aim was to remind women that they are fearfully and wonderful made despite giving birth or sudden gain of weight.
“They can still get that figure that they long for with our shapers.” She said.
Armed with a capital of less than Sh25,000 ($246.13), Susan set out to invest in buying these shapers in bulk for her shop that is now known as Absolute Shape Wear. The shop, targets both men and women who are looking to restore their shapes and elevate their confidence at the same time.
Susan spends a lot of time studying, researching and training about shape wears. This way, she is aware of the new trends when it comes to body shapers as well as the changing needs of the clients.
This helps her align her business to match those changes and reap big from the target market.
“In life the only thing that is permanent is change and most people are not ready to embrace it they prefer being in their comfort zones,” she says, adding that most people are not aware of body shapers and how they work.
With more people becoming conscious of their health and fitness lately, this presents a big business opportunity for those interested in investing in such. You must however have an edge, to place you at an advantage over the rest.
According to the Statistics Portal, Statista, the revenue of the health and fitness club industry in in Egypt was at around 348 in 2017. In South Africa, fitness club industry revenue hit 993 million US dollars.
Most hotels now are equipped with functioning gyms as well as fitness clubs, due to the growing demand for such activities.
With Africa’s growing middle class, this sector promises more growth as people move into he fitness industry as well as healthy eating.
According to a report by McKinsey and Company dubbed ‘Lions on the move: The progress and potential of African economies’ Africa’s economic growth is creating substantial new business opportunities that are often overlooked by global companies.
“Consumer-facing industries, resources, agriculture, and infrastructure together could generate as much as $2.6 trillion in revenue annually by 2020, or $1 trillion more than today.” The report reads.
Even with the promising business, this has not been a walk in the park for Susan as she says that there are a lot of counterfeit products in the market.
“With the cheap counterfeit products, most clients get disappointed when it does not deliver the quality services the seller promised. The counterfeits also threaten the sector’s market price.” said the entrepreneur.
“We live in a microwave world where people want instant results causing most clients give up on the body shapers as soon as they start. They all forget patience pays.” Susan adds.
Susan targets both men and women of ages ranging from 16-70yrs. She says the business has received good feedback from her clients.
“The market is wide because I deliver both within and outside the city. Some of my clients range from Artists, celebrities, students among others.
In a good month, Susan will sell more than 100 items in a month. Her products range from Seamless tummy control, self-heating waist trainers, waist Training cinchers, male slimming vests, insta Slim spanx for men as well as the unisex Self-heating lumbar waist trainers.
Her products prices range from 1500-5500 depending on the type and the purpose of each product.
Susan’s plan is to see her business, Absolute shape wear, expand into the east African region.
“I want to become a household name when it comes to fitness and health in East Africa,” She said.
According to the World health Organisation (WHO) overweight and obesity are rapidly growing concerns in all regions, affecting children and adults alike.
“These problems are now common in some low- and middle-income countries and are becoming significant public health priorities just like under nutrition and infectious diseases.” WHO says in a report.
The growing trend of people continuously wanting to remain healthy and fit is expected to fuel the need for more of these shape wears as well as fitness equipment and therefore push Susan’s business further up.