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Spruce Up Your Home With African Eye Crafts

Kenyans are indulging in arts and crafts, by investing in pieces for their homes or making a living out of it as proven by African Eye Crafts. We had the opportunity to talk to the 3 brothers behind the crafts business and delve further into the crafts market in Kenya.

Joseph, Peter and Samson, the African Eye Crafts team.
Joseph, Peter and Seth the African Eye Crafts team.

Joseph, Seth and Peter Olero are the owners of African Eye Crafts, an online-based business that offers assortments of beautifully crafted wall hangings and home decorations. The brothers also work with Ken Seda, their colleague and friend, who specializes in photography, branding and signage. The three brothers have all gone through college, and Joseph in particular was employed, but they eventually chose to concentrate on their home-based crafts business. Here is what the brothers had to say about their business.

What Crafts Do You Produce?

Joseph: Mostly wall hangings and home decorations including stone-frame decorated mirrors, calabash made lamp stands, sculptures, custom wooden clocks and portraits. Our products are largely handmade, except for using necessary assembling tools such as hand drills and glue. We also do branding and signage, as well as offer consultations to clients on home decoration.

Would You Say That Crafts Have A Viable Market in Kenya?

Seth: There is a market for crafts in Kenya; we are busy. Like today we have been delivering finished products and still have clients making more orders.

Wall art done by African Eye Crafts. Wall art done by African Eye Crafts.

How Do You Get Your Clients? Joseph: We primarily operate through our Facebook page and we do have a website. Our business also comes from referrals, when you do good work for a client they will always recommend you to others. We also market ourselves on OLX and are currently working on a partnership deal with Nsoko.

What Are Some of The Strangest Requests You Have Gotten From Clients?

Joseph: A request for a nude wall hanging. She said that she had been married for 11 years and she wanted some ‘more action in the bedroom’ with her husband and asked for a nude portrait to help with this.

Seth: I also got a request to create a nude sculpture for a client, but we never proceeded to actually making the product.

What is The Main Challenge of Dealing in Crafts As A business?

Joseph: The main challenge is lack of space; we do not have a workshop, which limits the things that we can do. We get the question a lot “do you have a shop,” well we don’t have a shop we are onine-based.

Seth: Finding an appropriate place to set up a shop and making payments for the shop is quite expensive. Some clients cannot come here, most being women, they fear coming to our house and this sometimes prevents them from doing business with us. They trust a shop more than telling them to come to your house.

Joseph: Most of them come, but a few have that insecurity. However, we overcome this by taking our business to the clients.

Sample wall art done by African Eye Crafts. Sample wall art done by African Eye Crafts.

Is There a Problem With Safeguarding Intellectual Property When It Comes to Crafts in Kenya?

Seth: I had someone create a similar product like mine, but there wasn't much that I could do.

Joseph: The quality of our products speak for themselves and that is what will always set us apart from the rest.

Seth: Even if they copy what we do, they can never quite make products like ours, because they do not know our trade secrets and cannot match our work ethics.

Joseph: Yes, even if you decide to copy someone else’s work, put your own twist to it to create an identity for yourself. If you do what everyone else is doing, you will not get your own identity.

What advice do you Have For Young People Interested in Making A Living From Crafts?

Joseph: Since we started, “hatujaenda mbali lakini, tumetembea (we have not gone far, but at least we are somewhere),’ but we have learnt a few things. Don’t try wazungu.

Peter: Yes, they don’t buy.

Joseph: Tourists don’t buy, let them go to Maasai Market.

Peter: Our products are large and heavy, not exactly what a tourist is looking for.

Seth: I have tried to sell in Mombasa, a mzungu will not buy crafts like ours. They like small things that they can carry and take with them as souvenirs.

Ken: Do not give up, starting may be hard and it will take sometime to start earning from what you do.

Peter: Diversify the products you create, do not focus on one product, to offer a variety to clients and satisfy the diverse needs of different clients.

Wall decor by African Eye Crafts. Wall decor by African Eye Crafts.

What Is In Store For African Eye Crafts in The Future?

Joseph: We have been discussing about teaching crafts to kids during school holidays and are still working on the fine print to make this happen.

Seth: We are also thinking of expanding sales to outside the country through eBay. However, to make this happen we would have to come up with standard or signature products which are easy to replicate for commercial sale. View the gallery below for more samples of work done by African Eye Crafts.

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="966,957,955,969,970,972,974,953,952,979,980,984,982"]

Images Courtesy: African Eye Crafts

Contact African Eye Crafts

Facebook: African Eye Crafts

Phone: 0723 44 82 13

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