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From Being a Shopless Cobler To Owning A Leather Shoe Production Company

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From Being a Shopless Cobler To Owning A Leather Shoe Production Company

“I landed my first job as a shoe cobbler- repairing spoilt shoes and related leather materials, working from a shop verandah.”

In our very first episode of Kazi ni Kazi inspire, we spoke with Mr Otieno, owner of the largest leather shoe company (Otty Shoes and Designs) in Mombasa, Kenya.

He was delighted to share his entrepreneurial journey with us. Read along and be inspired.

Mr Xytus Otieno, who also goes by Man Otty, is one of the few people in Kenya who started his business from scratch. and is now profitable.

Xytus Otieno | Photo by Dan G.
Xytus Otieno AKA Man Otty | Photo by Dan G.

“I came to Nairobi in 2002 to look for a job after completing my studies. Life was hard, I used to stay with my elder sister and it wasn’t that easy. I found myself in a rabbit hole where I had to accept any job that came my way.”

The first opportunity which came knocking at the door was doing shoe repair. “I landed my first job as a shoe cobbler- repairing spoilt shoes and related leather materials, working from a shop verandah. Those were the dark days when no sane lady would want to associate with me because of my work.”

M.O. narrates that things slowly started taking a twist after his employer linked him with a company where he learnt how to make new shoes since all he had been handling was purely shoe repair.

“My boss linked me with a company- Light Industries located in Kariobangi, where I was trained on how to make new shoes. We used to have modern sewing machines which made the work easier.”

The surprising bit came when Man Otty shared the figures of his first monthly salary back in the day! “ My first salary was Ksh 1,500.”

Original Leather shoes on display at Otty Shoe shop, Photo by Dan G
Original Leather shoes on display at Otty Shoe shop, Photo by Dan G

As I am authoring this article, a similar amount in Kenya right now is an insult by your employer if they pay you at the end of the month. I mean, life is hard and economic times have changed. It can barely keep you afloat in the city.

“After working for one year and gaining experience, nikasimamishwa Kazi. I used to spend most of my time in the house as I had nowhere to go.

That’s when I made up my mind to move from Nairobi to Mombasa to seek asylum at my brother’s place in Mtongwe.” Man Otty narrates.

After moving to Mombasa, find out what happened in between that led him to be where he is at today. As he runs one of the biggest leather shoe production companies in Mombasa. Watch the video above and get all the insights.

Feel free to comment below on the lessons you learn from the video with us.

CEO & Founder of KaziNiKazi Digital.

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