When Zia was in university back in 2013, she began buying and selling second-hand clothing. Fast forward 10 years, Zia is currently running Zia Africa, a leading clothing brand in Kenya.
If the name is familiar to you, it might be because you have seen it featured in our 2022 Impact Report! In this article, we revisit Zia's story and explore how her brand works to promote sustainability.
Zia's fashion journey started at Daystar University, where she studied Community Development. There, outside of her student schedule, she began a side hustle buying second-hand clothing from local markets and selling them to her classmates. While she was in school for a Bachelor of Arts degree, it was clear to her that fashion was her passion. Therefore, after graduating, she decided to venture into the fashion and retail industry, importing and selling clothes from Australia. However, when COVID hit, her business model was challenged. Upon reflecting on her options, Zia decided to focus on manufacturing her own pieces locally. Today, Zia Africa provides high-quality, sustainable and uniquely designed clothing for women across Africa, and has recently launched a unisex baby line!
Goals For the Future
In the future, Zia hopes to train and employ 100 employees. She is also focused on expanding her brand to the rest of Africa, beyond Nairobi, as she develops more clothing lines. And in terms of sustainability, Zia's main goal is to become the leading platform for sustainable fashion in Africa by 2025. This means driving initiatives such as going zero-waste by upcycling, recycling and reusing fabrics.
How Mkono Helped Zia
Mkono worked with Zia to provide a capital boost for the purchase of new machinery and higher quality fabric. In addition, through our mentorship program, Zia collaborated with Mkono to build a financial plan for the future. More precisely, through Mkono's mentorship sessions, Zia was able to adopt and launch strategies like loyalty programs and discounts. As Zia testifies, "Mkono's mentorship sessions initially helped me think through and establish these programs."
Mkono strives to empower entrepreneurs like Zia, who have not only an economic impact, but also a social impact on their communities. Zia's story is a great reminder that fashion and sustainability can go hand in hand! So, if you are interested in investing in clothing for the summer, make sure to check out Zia Africa!