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Hustler : John Mutaawe

Mutaawe at his boutique in Masaka. He sells both men and women’s wear. The 25-year-old says his dream is to own a wholesale store in one of the Kampala arcades. PHOTO by Shamim J. Nakawooya

Mutaawe at his boutique in Masaka. He sells both men and women’s wear. The 25-year-old says his dream is to own a wholesale store in one of the Kampala arcades.
PHOTO by Shamim J. Nakawooya

Focus: After university, John Mutaawe did not want to be employed and indeed, he only took up his first job to get capital for his business. With Shs15m, some of which he borrowed, he bought his sister’s boutique, and three years later, the business is worth Shs25m.

How old are you and what is the name of your business?
I am 25 years old and my business is Johniez Variety Boutique.

Why did you choose to name it so?
It is my name, but I added “ez” because I wanted it to sound unique.

When did you get the idea to start this business?
In August 2012.

How did you start this business?
After completing university, I got a job in a maize milling factory. I used to save my money. Around the same time, my sister was selling her boutique, so I borrowed Shs3m from my relatives and I topped it up with Shs8m I had saved.

How much did you put in this business?
Shs15m. I cleared what I had borrowed within six months.
Which commodities do you deal in?
I sell a variety of items for both ladies and gents; tops, skinny jeans, dresses, jewellery, shoes, belts, shirts and T-shirts, among others.

What are the prices of your items?
It depends on a customer’s preference, but tops cost between Shs15,000 and Shs25,000, shirts go for Shs15,000-to Shs30,000, Jeans range from Shs25,000 to Shs35,000, dresses from Shs30,000 to Shs50,000 and jewellery depends on what you want.

Why did you choose this business?
When I was still at university, I used to see students looking good in their outfits. So I was inspired.

What are the challenges in this business?
Some customers deposit on items but take long to come back. The unstable prices of the items due to increasing prices, and also language barrier where some customers do not understand Luganda or English.

Where do you purchase your stock?
From different arcades in Kampala, such as Nabukeera Plaza, Dembe Mall, Premier Arcade and others. I move from one to another, noting the quality of the commodities.

What inspired you to set up this business?
By the time I left campus, I did not want to work for anyone. Much as I had a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, I never thought of moving from one bank to another looking for a job, so I worked shortly in a factory as I planned to start my business.

What is your plan for the next five years?
I want to own a wholesale shop at one of those big arcades in Kampala, dealing in clothes and also open up retail outlets countrywide.
What have you achieved from this business so far?
I have managed to construct rental houses in Masaka.

Where is your business located?
Muto Complex, 1st floor, Room 15, Elgin Street in Masaka Town.


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