After receiving global recognition and painting Kenya pink, entrepreneur Loise Machira talks about the beginnings of her brand and her big hopes for the future.
## When was this business founded?
I have to be honest and say that I still struggle answering this question. When I founded my wellness blog Tizi Talks in July 2017, I did not have any plans of converting it into a business. I actually prefer to call it a passion project because wellness is something that changed my life and I wanted to show the world that it is a key that can unlock our potential. Now, the blog has grown to a point where I work with contributors and brands in the health & wellness industry. As a result of this, I was recently appointed to be the first Global Wellness Ambassador for Kenya and to be the leading authority for the celebrations on this special day. Click here to see how we ushered in this celebration for the first time in Kenya. (“We Turned Kenya Pink”)
## What motivated you to start this line of business?
After teaching myself the pillars of healthy living over a period of six years, I realised I had picked up great content that I could share with those who were looking to transform their lives to be healthier. Many of my friends would ask for advice on fitness and eating healthy, which led me to start making weight loss meal plans and fitness programmes. Eventually I decided to create a platform that acts as a wellness bank where I could share all the information to a wider audience. This culminated into recognition by various health & wellness brands looking to market their products and services on the site.
## How do you use social media?
I have a personal page, @loisemachira, and a business page for my blog which is @tizitalks. Unlike many bloggers, I chose to separate the two because I was building something bigger than myself and bigger than a blog. I want Tizi to outlive me and for people to appreciate the brand for its mission as opposed to only liking it because I am the one who runs it. For this reason, I use social media to raise awareness on the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and illustrate how you can incorporate healthy habits in your everyday life. I am very deliberate about the content I share; choosing to focus on wellness is an important avenue for building my brand and creating a positive impact on people’s lives. I also use social media to meet fellow content creators, engage with my audience, and learn from experts in this field.
## How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
I engage with my audience on social media and attend as many events as I can, which provide networking opportunities. In terms of building brand capital, I have slowly started getting into merchandise and I wear said merch especially to photoshoots where I am shooting content. Another way I market my brand is by collaborating with many other brands that are in the same industry. I strongly believe in collaborations and focusing on contribution more than accumulation.
## Who are your biggest influences/inspirations?
My biggest influences are;
- Richard Branson – Founder of Virgin Group
- Daymond John – Founder of FUBU
- Hannah Bronfman – Founder of HBFIT and
- Belgin Aksoy – Founder of Global Wellness Day Organisation.
## What is your biggest challenge and how do you face it?
My biggest challenge has been monetizing the blog. Since this project started as a hobby, I started reading about how one could convert their passion into a business in the hopes of doing what I love every day. I tried to apply what I learnt from my research but it was not working out as I thought it would. I was getting a lot of free merchandise to promote various brands but they were not willing to give monetary compensation for promotions because I did not have a ‘big’ following. It got to a point where my creative side was negatively affected because I was financially frustrated. I knew I had to invest in my brand for it to grow and be recognised as a thought leader in the wellness industry.
## What was the best piece of advice you ever got? The worst?
During women’s entrepreneurship masterclass organised by African Development Bank, I met a lady who gave me one of the best advice in business; she said one should focus on creating impact and positive change in society as the primary goal. Although one could argue that human beings are economical in nature, money should not be your main goal. The worst advice I have ever heard and continue to hear is to focus on job security; and if it does not make money, it does not make sense.
## Can you tell us about a time when you failed and how you came back from it/what you learned?
One of my biggest failures has to be when I worked on an article to promote a brand without signing any contracts and accepting to publish based on the promise she would pay in time. Since at the time I was trying to monetize the blog and it was my only source of income, I pushed too hard for the client to pay which inadvertently affected our relationship. She was my first client and the first one I lost. From that experience, I learnt that no matter how little or how big a payment is, you should never do any work without a clear contract. Additionally, I now highly value patience as a crucial virtue to have in business because had I not push my client too hard to pay, she could have come back for more work or better yet, recommended the platform to her network of contacts.
## What do you love most about doing business in Africa?
I love the fact that wellness is a concept that people are now starting to appreciate and many are keen on understanding it better to live to their highest potential. By publishing newsletters on Tizi I love it when people send emails with questions for the team and many business owners in the wellness industry are starting to see the value in influencer marketing. Since wellness is still a novelty in Africa, many opportunities exist for businesses that want to focus on this area.
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