What you need to know:
- Starting a fitness business can be an intimidating prospect but also a rewarding one.
- It takes ambition, planning and leadership to be successful. As well as that you need to be willing to learn, make mistakes and face up to challenges.
- In the end, the journey will always be eventual on the road to fitness business success.
A chat with Priscilla Kedi is one that makes me want to give my all to taking care of my body. Oozing with passion for fitness, there is no way she would have thrived anywhere else, save in the physical fitness world.
Indeed, she personifies the fact that working with your passion to put food on the table is easier than going to the business world to develop a liking for a certain business niche and then looking for clients.
Kedi believes, with every fibre in her, the benefits fitness, mental health as well as looking good withthe help of daily physical exercise knew this thus turning it into business.
“Kedi’s Fit Flex Sports Line is the business borne out of my passion and is a specialist provider of online quality, authentic and affordable fitness and sports apparel ranging from waist trainers, swimming costumes, jerseys, exercise mats, sneakers, dumbbells, resistance bands and a wide range of gym equipment for both men and women in Uganda,” she says.
Kedi’s journey started in November, 2019 during the first Covid -19 pandemic lockdown where jobs were in scarcity and many were losing employment. So rather than mop about failing to get one, she decided to look at what she loves; helping others look good by selling to them some nice fitness equipment. “I started by posting a few fitness videos of myself working out, as well as some health tips. I also spoke to some of my family members about my idea and they were very supportive,” says Kedi.
Moreover, since most of her colleagues knew she loved physical exercise and clearly saw the results on her, they accepted the idea and referred Kedi to their friends. Before she knew it, Kedi was in business.
She shares that it was scary because she was weary of being rejected by the public since in Uganda, few people embrace physical exercise. “At first it was hard since majority of Ugandans do not like physical exercise as it is for the Western countries.
However, I decided to tap into a market of waist trainers because most women like their waists to look smaller. When I started marketing these, I got quite a good response from post-partum mothers to young women who wanted to look good in their outfits,” she explains.
Kedi met some people who discouraged her that her business dealt in luxuries which people cannot invest in. “It was discouraging to hear such comments but once I made by first post on social media, people were asking me for prices, how it works which showed me that there were interested people out there and I was ready to help them understand more,” she says.
She started the establishment with Shs400,000 which came from her personal savings. “I bought a few items such as waist trainers, exercise mats, dumbbells, opened up business social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter where I posted paid advertisements, invested in research about the different wholesale sports equipment suppliers as well as joined some online marketing platforms such as Jiji-Uganda to reach out to a wider audience,” says Kedi.
Her first customer was Adrian, a friend with whom Kedi went to university and she charged him Shs60,000.
“He believed in me when I was still in school, working at home with no shop to speak of. He bought an exercise mat. From him, I learnt never to rush my deliveries because I gave him a mat colour he had not requested for which did not reflect so well on my business. Luckily, he was a friend and was understanding,” she says.
Ensuring she earns a profit from what she is doing, Kedi had to get her pricing right and she learnt that through making surveys on the prices of other suppliers selling the same products.
“I also considered the price at which I had purchased the item thus working out the percentage of the profit I would get if I sold it at a certain price. Nonetheless, I also ensured that the percentage is not too high to scare off my customers.”
So far, the pricing mechanism is working well enough to retain her clients while she also looks for more through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as through interactions with friends and family. “Being an online store, having an online presence allows for better online marketing.”
Her clients comprise of friends, friends of friends, family members and people from online social media platforms.
Knowing that learning never ends, Kedi has engaged in several online trainings on how to market an online business, how to grow your followers, how to post items that will catch her audience’s eye, and business plan writing to attract potential investors into investing into the business. Thankfully, these have not cost her much financially, save for data bundles, as they are usually webinars thus free.
“The trainings have helped me learn to deal with all sorts of customers, I have drafted a business plan for my business, grown my customer base as everyone who meets me knows I sell sports and fitness equipment and this has brought in more and more recommendations from such colleagues hence increasing sales over time.”
Her monthly sales vary from time to time depending on the number of deliveries she does. “Approximately, the sales bring in Shs100,000 per week.” That said her biggest sale is in a week has been Shs400,000.
Small customer base: Kedi says she still has a lot of investment to do in online business advertisement in order to reach out to a wider audience.
“I need to put more information out there regarding the business to create more awareness of the benefits of physical exercise to Ugandans since in marketing as quoted; “It is better to sell the result than to sell the product – anonymous” Inadequate capital: She has not been able to secure investors who can have a look at the Kedi’s Fit Flex Sports Line business plan.
“These would become shareholders and get back value for their money in a few years since the company has great potential to expand beyond Uganda.,” she says. Ever changing needs of customers: Due to innovations, products are modified frequently, and this also applies to the sports world. “While you are still marketing this type of a waist trainer, another advanced type is created and this automatically changes the customer’s needs. So I end up not selling the old stock which means losses because an investment was made,” she notes.
She also wishes she had the contacts of the different suppliers. “That would have eased getting products; moreover, I would avoid getting counterfeits because I would have gone to specific stores.”
Then there was the issue of knowing the difference in the quality of the different items. “Seeing that counterfeit and original may not look really different, it is not easy to tell them apart. As a novice in the business, I was conned my hard earned money.”
The Covid-19 lockdown has also left her unhappy because making deliveries has become quite difficult because boda charges have increased. “That cuts into my profits. More to that restocking is also almost impossible as most shops are closed.”
The future holds so much for Kedi who would like to open up a physical sports store in a very nice location. “I would also like to ship my own products from suppliers in China, and open up a health fitness spa for different age brackets.,” says Kedi.
How she started
Starting: Priscilla Kedi’s journey started in November, 2019 during the first Covid -19 pandemic lockdown where jobs were in scarcity and many were losing employment. So rather than mop about failing to get one, she decided to look at what she loves; helping others look good by selling to them some nice fitness equipment.
“I started by posting a few fitness videos of myself working out, as well as some health tips. I also spoke to some of my family members about my idea and they were very supportive,” says Kedi.
Pricilla Kedi has not been able to secure investors who can have a look at the Kedi’s Fit Flex Sports Line business plan.