Last Updated on: 3rd January 2024, 05:13 pm
You can start a diaper business and try to make money in Kenya. With thousands of newborns daily in Kenya, you are assured of a continued flow of customers, from infant diapers to adult diapers. However, is the diaper business profitable in Kenya?
Well, this blog explains whether the diaper business is profitable in Kenya. I will also unveil the tips for making a diaper business profitable in Kenya.
It starts with identifying a gap in your location and filling it with a suitable diaper for your target customers. This is what my interviewee, Brian, says about starting a profitable diaper business in Kenya.
According to Brian, this is how he started his diaper business in Machakos, Kenya. Be attentive to learning the success tips from today’s business interview.
How to Start a Diaper Business in Kenya
Cecilia: So, Brian, how did you start your diaper business? What was it like?
Brian: Starting is the most crucial thing in anything you want to do. Therefore, I knew I had to start the business and keep growing into what you can see now. I had to do thorough market research in 2020, the COVID-19 year.
I must say this was the most challenging year, yet I managed to start and grow this profitable diaper business in Kenya. It was three months after I lost my 8-5 job in one of the most popular banks in Kenya.
This is what I did to kickstart the diaper store.
Step 1: I Chose a location with a gap
I started by going around Machakos level 5 hospital and noticed that there was no exclusive store for diapers. That ticked my mind. Actually, I was searching for a place to buy the big diaper pack for my sister. She had just given birth in the hospital.
You cannot start a business without exploring where you want to set up your diaper store. To choose a suitable location, navigate whether the available diaper stores are fully stocked.
You should also focus on locations near hospitals and densely populated residential areas. These areas have ready customers, from infants to sick adults in hospitals.
You should be keen when choosing a location to set up your diaper business because the more you sell, the more profits you earn.
Step 2: I Found a reliable diaper supplier
After I identified the gap around the hospital, I started making moves to search for a reliable supplier of diapers. I started by visiting the Naivas supermarket and noted all the diaper brands on their shelves. That meant I would be stocking highly moving brands, eventually contributing to my success.
Afterwards, I explored the different wholesale prices for diapers in the wholesale stores in town and compared prices. Remember that customers love to shop in outlets with high stock levels.
However, after my diaper business became more profitable, I opted to start getting my diaper stock from Nairobi. I started with a simple Google search and compared prices from different outlets in Nairobi.
Step 3: I stocked my diaper store
I started small; my overall capital for setting up the store and stocking it was Ksh.50k. With this capital, I paid the store rent, which at that time cost Ksh.6,000 and a business permit of Ksh.4500. I also got a carpenter who designed some good display shelves.
I started with popular brands such as Softcare, Molfix, Pampers, Kissskids, Bouncy Baby, and Happy Kid diapers.
Afterwards, I bought my stock from one of the big wholesale stores in Machakos. And boom, my diaper store was up and running.
Step 4: I did Marketing for My Diapers Business
First, I ensured that I displayed the diaper products well, showcasing different brands to draw customers’ attention. I displayed every pack of diapers to show clients that all packs were available in my store.
In addition, I used Facebook Ads and ran an advertisement with the target market being Machakos town. With this idea, I got over 100 potential clients within two weeks. I counted that as a plus since most of them were repeat clients.
I also offered delivery services in Machakos town and metropolitan areas. There was this bodaboda guy who used to ferry me to work, and we had become friends. I gave him the business of delivering diapers to some routes around the town.
During holidays, I usually send messages to all my clients on SMS, WhatsApp, and all other social media pages. This makes them feel special, and they usually come back.
Cecilia: What a journey! I really like your determination. And if I may ask, is the diaper business profitable in Kenya?
Brian: Well, the profitability of a diapers business in Kenya depends on the volume you sell versus the expenses of your business.
So, Is the Diaper Business Profitable in Kenya?
Yes. The diaper business is profitable in Kenya. However, its profitability depends on location, which largely determines the sales volume.
In the diaper business, the more you sell, the more profits you will make. In the first few weeks, I had minimal sales as people were just discovering my diaper business.
However, I made enough profits to pay for the store since the first month.
After proper branding and online marketing, I managed to get enough profits to pay for the store, rent, my house rent and my family’s upkeep.
In addition to diapers, I added some toiletries and other necessities needed in hospitals, such as basins, slippers, toothbrushes, etc. These items boosted my revenue in a significant way and kept clients coming back.
So yes, the diaper business is profitable in Kenya since it has fed my family of 4 plus a househelp for the last 3 years. Isn’t that great news?
Cecilia: That’s indeed great news! Are there any challenges you’ve faced in your diaper business in Kenya?
Brian: Yes. Like any other business, a diaper business has its own share of troubles. It’s not always rosy for all the businesses you see around.
Challenges I Faced in The Diaper Business in Kenya
- Bad debt
One of the biggest challenges I have faced in my diapers business is bad debt. Some of my loyal customers developed into debtors who would pay fast; after some time, some disappeared. I now believe the saying that lending to a customer is sending them to other shops.
My wife lost her job at the start of my business, making her a full-time mom. Therefore, I had to cater for everything in the house, from food and rent to school fees. I used my savings as I stabilized my business.
- Constant rent upgrades
My store landlord is not one of the best. Although I understand that the cost of living is high, the rent upgrades should not be more frequent.
Can you believe that he has raised our rent three times since 2020? I feel that he’s not fair, considering I have other needs.
- The lows of the business
It’s normal for business highs and lows in any business in Kenya. However, considering we mainly depended on this sole business for upkeep, it was initially very challenging during the lows. However, that’s no longer the case since I have other business ventures in different towns in Machakos County.
There was a time I lost a diaper stock worth Ksh.25,000 in Nairobi. I had this Mkokoteni guy who would ferry my stock to the bus park each time I went shopping. However, on this fateful day, the guy was sick and unable to be at work, so I took a random guy to help out.
Wueeh! That day, I saw dust. The guy disappeared in thin air, and that’s how I lost my stock. I’m grateful to my God since, even after losing the stock, I withdrew some of my savings and got some other stock.
Cecilia: Oh my God! I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you got back to your feet and continued with your business.
Brian: Thanks, Cecilia. Actually, it’s just by God’s grace that I managed to be successful in this business.
Cecilia: What can you tell other people in the diaper business or those who want to start one?
Brian: Well, determination is the key to a successful business venture. Furthermore, excellent marketing skills helped me build a strong customer base, which pushed me to get more branches.
For those who want to start a profitable diaper business in Kenya, the right time to start is now. Ensure you choose the best location and stock the most moving diaper brands. Don’t forget to add other toiletries to help boost your revenue.
Furthermore, build a strong customer network, and they will refer their friends and family to your business.
Cecilia: I thank you for taking the time to take us through your diaper business in Kenya. Now I understand that it takes effort to start a profitable diaper business in Kenya.
For those who would like to venture into other businesses, we have several side hustles you can start with as low as Ksh. 10k in Kenya.
Frequently Asked Questions: Is the Diaper business Profitable in Kenya?
- What is the most moving diaper brand in Kenya?
According to Brian, he used to sell more Softcare diapers compared to all other diaper brands in his store in Machakos. People said Softcare diapers were cheap and did not cause rashes on their baby’s skin. That’s why they liked them. As a result, Brian stocked more Softcare diapers, followed by Pampers.
- How much is a bale of Softcare diapers in Kenya?
A bale of Softcare diapers costs around Ksh. 1300 (12 packets) for low count and Ksh. 2900 (6 packs) for high-count diapers.
- Do diapers expire?
No. Diapers do not expire. Therefore, you do not have to worry about expired stock in your diaper store in Kenya.