03 April 2017
Margarita Ketes, Managing Director of Margil Ltd,
a business she co-founded in 2014.
The LEAP Network looks to share some wise words from phenomenal women entrepreneurs in the network. This April, we salute the vivacious Margarita Kertes.
1. What drew you to this business?
For years I had dreamed about running my business. Six years ago I came across Totto bags. I loved their products and wanted to run a business distributing their products across the globe. But I always had an excuse to not do it. One afternoon while speaking to my father-in-law, as I was sharing my dream, he asked me what my excuse was for not following my dream. I was tongue tied. I didn’t know what to say. The next morning, my business partner contacted the Totto Brand team and began negotiations to serve as their African distributor. That was just 2 years ago.
2. It takes confidence to contact companies and request to be their distributors, how did you do that?
We knew "No" was a given. The aim was to turn that into a “Yes”, with our solution which was simple; to serve as an African distributor for global brands. When we spoke to Totto bags and Magnetics we found out that they were interested in what we were offering. They were just seeking the right match. And they found that in us, we got our “Yes!”
3. What are some the most powerful lessons you have learnt?
The first and most important is it to breathe. Business can be overwhelming at times, you need to take time to calm down and ease the pressure. Secondly, know when to ask for help and always remind yourself why you are in business. Renee has been most helpful with both of these. There were times when I would call Renee just to tell her, "I can't breathe". She would calm me down and help me to organize things step-by-step.
4. What are some of the things you are still struggling with?
I think our biggest challenge right now, is the preparation to open our first pop up store at a Shopping Mall, and find more stores to sell our products.
5. How do you market your products?
We sell online on Jumia. Our products are also available at various stores and hotels in Nairobi, Kenya. Our loyal clients are our biggest ambassadors.
6. What is the one piece of advice you wish you heard when you were starting? Why?
The path of an entrepreneur is a lonely one. I quickly realised you need to look for people/groups to grow and also find support to keep on this journey.
7. What is your advice to women entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship is the shovel we use to dig a path to a better future.