- The 38-year-old mother of three says she makes between 100-150 litres of yoghurt in a week and is targeting to increase to 200 litres.
- Her biggest marketing platform is online which has given her more than 85 per cent of repeat customers and still counting.
A milk glut in the market presented Njeri Wairima with an idea to start making yoghurt to help reduce wastage.
She says at the time, there were many dairy farmers in Ruai, Nairobi county, and this led to flooding of milk in the market.
“I thought of taking advantage of the availability of milk by venturing into yoghurt making. Besides, this was also an opportunity for me to ensure that I could provide healthy yoghurt for my family,” Wairima says.
She felt that what was being offered in the market had been manufactured with additives and preservatives, hence her Sajys Farm Yoghurt business located in Ruai, along Kangundo Road.
Wairima told the Star during a visit to her shop in Ruai town that she started by making small quantities of yoghurt for her family, friends and neighbours.
She says when they started asking for more yoghurt, she knew she was in the right track and had made the right decision so she invested more into the business.
But since she did not have any experience in dairy farming or in making yoghurt, she took time to do research both online and through field visits to other like-minded entrepreneurs.
“I had never dealt with dairy products before but since I had spotted a business opportunity I was ready and willing to learn," she says.
"I did a lot of research on yoghurt making before I got into the business. I learnt that I needed licenses from the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Kenya Dairy Board."
"When I was confident that I had all the skills I needed to make it work, I began the journey,” she added.
The 38-year-old mother of three says she makes between 100-150 litres of yoghurt in a week and is targeting to increase to 200 litres.
This is because there is huge demand for yoghurt in Ruai and beyond.
Her prices are pocket friendly and range from Sh50 for a 250ml, Sh90 for 500ml, Sh360 and Sh900 for a 2litre and 5litre bottle of yoghurt respectively.
Her yoghurt, she says, is free from additives and preservative.
Wairima says she only uses milk and cultures and the yoghurt comes in different flavours, including vanilla, strawberry, mango, passion, pineapple, caramel and blackcurrant.
“I am not afraid to be in competition with giants that produce yoghurt because I have a ready market of regular customers who buy from the shop," she says.
"We also do deliveries up to the Central Business District in Nairobi.”
Her biggest marketing platform is online which has given her more than 85 per cent of repeat customers and still counting.
Wairima says Ruai is growing very fast and the high population creates huge customer base for her business.
She also offers online and practical training lessons on yoghurt and ice cream at a fee of Sh3,500.
Prior to yoghurt business, Wairima had been a poultry farmer for five years but she says she was unable to break even.
“Poultry farming is capital and labour intensive, but with yoghurt business, I do it myself once a week and my capital investment was only about Sh5,000," she says.
"The other challenge with poultry farming is that sometimes the market would flood with chickens resulting in minimal profit margins. After five years of patience, I got tired and abandoned the entire chicken project.”
Wairima adds that there is money and opportunities in value addition, and that the yoghurt business is now her full time job. Wairima plans to expand and start making ghee and cheese.
She emphasises the importance of safety of the product, and to address this, she makes the yoghurt herself to ensure that hygiene is ensued throughout the process.
“I also ensure that I get my raw milk from specific dairy farmers whom I often engage with to ensure the milk is safe, [of good] quality and not adulterated the milk."
"I closely monitor how the milk is produced and I advise and encourage farmers to produce quality milk because if anything goes wrong at the source, it is likely to affect the final production,” she adds.
Wairima says consistency is key towards the growth of any business and she is keen on not compromising on the quality of her product.
“Value addition is the way to go. Start small and grow along the process. It’s a journey that you need to grow with in order to appreciate the gains.”