The football jersey “plug” finds its place in business

Zack Muchiri.

The football season kicks off this weekend with the English Premier League (EPL) having a huge following in Kenya.

Fashion entrepreneurs were keen to capitalize on this hype by selling sportswear such as branded shirts and jackets from the various football clubs around the world.

Zack Muchiri, 33, has been in this business for twelve years.

The mass communication graduate says his passion for football led him to sporting goods branding.

He had been employed for three years in a brand store where he learned the tricks of the trade before leaving to create his own.

“I started out as a stockbroker marketing branded sporting goods online for other entrepreneurs before opening my own store in town,” he says.

social media influencer

His business, Jersey Kit Kenya, is located along Moi Avenue in Nairobi.

Muchiri’s encounter with celebrities has made him very cautious and he rarely outfits them in corporate marketing.

“Most of them (celebrities) have too much entitlement and think they can get free merchandise because of their status.”

This is with the exception of gospel artist Moji Shortbabaa who he considers humble. He is also his own social media influencer for his business.

And speaking of people with attitude, it’s not just limited to celebrities but to other customers in general, with some insulting her at her workplace or ordering kits and not paying.

“There are customers who will bring your business to life while others are difficult to manage.

“How you handle the latter can make or break your business if negative reviews are anything to go by,” he says.

All branded sportswear such as t-shirts, hoodies and jerseys are produced according to customers’ preferences.

Muchiri says it would be unwise to mark goods without orders as it could lead to losses.

The most popular sporting goods come from European football giants such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Its target clientele ranges from 18 to 40 years old.

“Most people in this demographic are sports fans who know more about European leagues than local leagues,” he says.

The demand for sporting goods for the local football league, he regrets, is quite low.

the competition is tough

A branded shirt in his shop sells for 1,300 shillings. Jackets sell for Sh3,000 while pants cost Sh2,000 and hoodies for Sh2,500.

He has one permanent employee.

Muchiri emphasizes on marketing to grow her business as the competition is quite tough.

He relies on customer referrals to drive sales, and in addition to using an influencer, he also markets the business aggressively on social media.

One of the worst business decisions he regrets making is once buying a large stock without regard to sizes or quantities because the products were trendy at the time.

“I ended up making a huge loss. Because a particular kit was all the rage in the market at the time, I thought I’d make a killing and mark all the sizes and end up with dead stock.

“If I had responded to customer demand instead of following a trend, it would have made a difference,” he says.

Muchiri is reinvesting profits back into the business as he aims to scale it and plans to expand it so he can diversify its product offerings to also include sports equipment.

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