‘The early bird gets the worm’ – FLO Jackson Kioko’s entrepreneurial journey
It is a busy morning for the Kioko family. Jackson Kioko is cleaning his pick-up truck, while his wife Mary is cleaning their four Fresh Life Toilets in anticipation of customers for the day.
“I have had a great experience working with the team at Sanergy and learned a lot as well. The most important lesson has been that a toilet facility can be such a life-changing amenity within any community. Since Fresh Life Toilets came to this area, we have seen a big difference. Our environment is much cleaner,” Jackson says. This is what motivated him to purchase four Fresh Life Toilets in 2013.
Having lived in Mukuru Kwa Reuben for over ten years, he has experienced flying toilets firsthand. With his shop by the roadside, he would wake up early to clear black polythene bags often containing feces around his shop. The stench and flies surrounding the bags always drove away his customers. Today, the presence of Fresh Life Toilets next to their shop has put an end to the flying toilets.
“We wake up at 4:30 am because by 5:30 am, our customers arrive to use the Fresh Life Toilets,” says Jackson. Additionally, waking up early helps the couple plan adequately for the day’s business activities.
Mary and Jackson have ventured into several businesses: the Fresh Life Toilets, a retail shop, transport services, and a vegetable farm at their home in Machakos. Jackson credits his entrepreneurial success with his adherence to an old adage: “The early bird gets the worm.” Working hard and an early start to the day are how he has stayed ahead of his competitors.
In addition, his wife Mary has greatly contributed to his success; she has been Jackson’s business partner for the last ten years. She manages their retail shop and toilet business while Jackson handles the transport and farming businesses. “Learning to delegate our business responsibilities has helped grow the various ventures tremendously,” acknowledges Jackson.
This teamwork has proven lucrative for the couple: the Fresh Life Toilets, for instance, earn them an average total of eight hundred shillings in profit per day.
“From these profits we are able to ensure that our three children and our parents back in the village are well provided for,” Mary beams.
Through the Kiokos’ multiple businesses, they have been able to create job opportunities for youth both in Mukuru and Machakos. Betty is one such beneficiary; she is the Fresh Life Toilet attendant. “From my weekly salary, I am able to provide for my needs and save a bit of money,” she says.
Mary and Kioko are proud of their achievements this far; however, they say it is just the beginning. They want their premises to be a one-stop shop for their community by expanding it into a wholesale shop. As for their Fresh Life Toilets, Mary and Betty are working hard to provide the cleanest toilets in the Fresh Life network, so as to generate even more customer demand. We wish Mary and Kioko luck in their various endeavors!