13 years ago, Segeni Ng’ethe used a simple idea to start a business. Today he is making money out of bringing the Diaspora ‘closer’ home
When Segeni Ng’ethe started MamaMike’s, an online shop 13 years ago, he did not have any idea of the phenomenal impact it would have. In these years, he has become a vital link between people living in the Diaspora and those at home and spreads the kind of joy and happiness that money cannot buy.
Ng’ethe capitalised on a simple idea that would probably make an astute businessman laugh him out of town. “The name MamaMike came from the idea of our African culture. As kids we were always sent to buy stuff from mama “fulani” because they trusted them for the best results and products.
That’s how MamaMike came to be. We wanted to be trusted by our customers, give them a name to identify with and to also give them a feel of assurance when it came to our services,” Ng’ethe, the CEO of the company says.
Thirteen years later MamaMikes has been connecting people abroad with their friends and families back home. “When I started MamaMikes the idea of using the Internet was just getting exciting. I was impressed with the opportunity the Internet provided.
I was enthusiastic about it, because it presented a new world of opportunities,” Ngethe says. Initially MamaMike’s specialised in shopping vouchers but later developed to paying school fees, paying bills, shopping, buying gifts, flowers and airtime, which gained a lot of popularity during the post election violence in 2007/8.
Over time MamaMike’s has become well known for their e-mbuzi, an idea that came about when they realised that mbuzi meat is one of the most sort after product, especially during weekends, holidays, festive seasons, traditional ceremonies and any other celebration like bride price negotiations.
Last year during the Christmas festivities they sold over 40 goats. Some people in the Diaspora buy the mbuzi online for their families back in Kenya to celebrate and also as a surprise.The venture unites friends and relatives who are in Kenya and the Diaspora.
“Most people call from abroad to request for our services. They either shop online, or ask us to organise a surprise for their loved ones back at home,” Ng’ethe says. MamaMikes has become an online site where most spouses seek for services, especially during special dates such as Valentines, birthdays and anniversaries.
All a client has to do is call and place an order with them. If it’s a surprise gift they’ll beautifully wrap it and deliver to the client’s desired location. The venture, which has distributors all over the country has also extended to Tanzania and Uganda where they have been active for two years now.
“We are happy for all the positive feedback we get from our clients. They motivate us to do more and it’s our pleasure to make them happy,” Ng’ethe says. Their number of deliveries has also increased and they do 900-1,000 deliveries per month. “We make approximately Sh1.1 million per month but it depends with the seasons, the more the festivities the more money we make,” he adds.