Shillah Mugumya started saving money back in school whenever she was given pocket money.
Her dream was to become a fashion designer. She used to fetch water for people to make money.
At the age of 19, during her Senior Six vacation, she opened up an African fabric (kitengi) business with her savings of Shs50,000.
Mugumya looks for unique fabric, generates fancy designs and does the tailoring. She uses social media to reach out to her clients, deliver finished attires, uses connections from friends and recommendation by satisfied clientele.
How she started
With her savings of only Shs50,000, Mugumya bought a piece Kitengi from a Congolese vendor at Shs25,000 and convinced her friend, a tailor in in Banda, a Kampala surburb, to allow her use her sewing machine. In two days, she had designed a dress which she sold to one of her friends at Shs80,000.
“My happy client motivated me to come up with more dresses.
I continued to use a friend’s machine until I raised money to by my own tailoring machine”.
After buying her own machine, she shared rent for the fashion house in Banda and business grew bigger.
Mugumya has expanded her business to the central business district in Kampala to tap into corporate clientele.
Mugumya says that she has managed to pay her young siblings’ school fees. “My life has changed. I can pay my bills,” Mugumya adds.
The 24-year -old is motivated by her clients and peers who support her work and encourage her to keep going.
Just like any other business, Mugumya says competition is her greatest challenge, adding that some clients prefer substandard products that are cheaper.
Mugumya dreams of becoming a big fashion brand in Uganda that will inspire teenagers to make start their own small businesses.
She says some of her customers want unique outfits yet they want to pay peanuts. Mugumya is however determined to see her business grow.
Shillah Mugumya was born in 1995 in Bushenyi District.
She studied at Ishaka Adventist Primary School and later joined Sacred Heart secondary School Mushanga for O- Level.
She went to Central College Mityana for A- level. She put her tours and travel career on halt to pursue a fashion course.