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How to Start a Highly Profitable Mitumba Business in Kenya

mitumba business in Kenya

Are you considering starting a Mitumba business in Kenya? This detailed guide will show you everything you need to know in order to start a very successful mitumba business.

From budget, to where to buy the bales and some tips to keep in mind, we have made sure to include every detail we think is important for anybody looking to sell second-hand clothes in Kenya.

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Mitumba (second-hand clothes) is one of the most profitable business one can venture in with just a little capital at hand. Reuters report reveals that approximately 100,000 tonnes of second-hand clothes that are imported to Kenya brings revenue and millions of jobs for the Kenyan citizens, more so the youth.

If you are still on the fence as to whether you should start a mitumba business, check out these 5 Highly Inspiring Mitumba Business Success Stories.

Or alternatively, you can check out our list of 25 Most Profitable Businesses to Start in Kenya 2019.

What to consider when starting a mitumba business

Before starting a mitumba business in Kenya, you should keep in mind the following four important factors.

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1. How much capital you need to start a mitumba business

One of the very common questions people looking to venture into this business ask is, how much do I need to start a mitumba business. The amount largely depends on your own budget but the sweet spot for most people happens to be 50k. In fact if your search for the best business to start with 50k in Kenya, a Mitumba option will likely pop up.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t go lower.

At roughly Ksh 500 to Ksh 1000, one can start a small mitumba business. For a medium venture, around 20,000 to 100,000 Kenyan shillings will be enough for the business. Those who want to start a large sale of mitumba clothes, then be armed with more than 100,000 Kenyan shillings.

I suggest you start small and grow steadily. If the business is promising you can invest more. You don’t want to invest a lot then things don’t work out.

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2. Identify your target market

Before a business idea is even conceived, the aspect of market is very crucial. A good business should be marketable. For a second-hand clothing business, you can create your own target market, ranging from neighbors and colleagues, online marketing or even can go to person for whatever they need

Don’t just assume that people around you will come rushing to buy you mitumba clothes. A little research won’t hurt. You can ask people what kind of clothes they would love to buy.

Even more importantly, who are you going to sell to? That is, who is your target market? Children? Ladies? Teenagers? Student?… Everyone?

Of course you can sell general mitumba clothes that caters for everyone. But focusing on a single group will increase you credibility and customer loyalty. People will keep coming back because they know exactly what you sell and they are sure to get it from you.

3. Where to sell the clothes

For any business, location matters a lot. This is especially truer for a mitumba business. Think of location as being physical or online.

If you are just starting out, you probably want to start with a physical location as you work on building your credibility online. The best places to sell online is on social media sites especially Facebook and Instagram.

If you are selling online, invest in good photography. Picture quality matters a lot. Using a phone with a good camera and take pictures that appeal to the customer. If you are selling your mitumba clothes on Facebook, you can either use pre-existing (but relevant) groups or start a page. I recommend you do both for maximum exposure.

Don’t post in groups that have nothing to do with your business (For example political groups) or you will be removed.

For maximum profit, ensure you provide some unique advantages that your competitors don’t offer, for example free delivery of goods within a specific area, or even a certain percentage discount in goods bought in the online platform. Be aware of the competition around you.

If you choose to sell on a physical location, make sure it is strategic. I recommend just places as:

  • Around colleges or universities
  • Residential areas
  • Crowded streets
  • Open market places such as Gikomba in Nairobi or Kongowea Market in Mombasa.

Selling both online and in a physical location will increase your chances of reaping more profits.

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4. Identify your Supplier

After identifying your target market and where you will be selling the clothes, you need someone who will be supplying the mitumba bales for you.

It is fine if you are in a position to go get the mitumba yourself. But getting a supplier is more advantageous especially if you are planning on starting a bigger mitumba business.

But if you are going small, you can buy the clothes yourself from open air markets such as Gikomba, Muthurwa or Eastleigh markets

For those planning to start a mitumba business in Nairobi or Mombasa, you have at your disposal a lot of places you can buy the stock. But if you are buying from other sellers, don’t sell in the same place. If you for example buy from Kongowea market in Mombasa you can sell them door to door or at the nearest universities and colleges.

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Buying Mitumba Stock in Bales

Some people prefer buying their stock in bales rather than selecting random clothes. This is cheaper and one gets away with more stock. Imported mitumba clothes sold in Kenya come from developed countries like Australia, USA, Canada, UK, Japan, Germany, China among other European nations.

The best quality mitumba clothes comes from UK, making them a bit expensive. Dubai, however, also produces quality clothes at a cheaper price. Canada mostly produces oversized clothes. This, however, can be adjusted. From Europe, a bale of children’s clothes go up to 30k, while that from China will go for just 10k. The difference stands in the quality of the clothes, so in this case, the European ones are of high quality as compared to those from China.

Importing children second-hand clothes is more profitable as it comes with so many goodies except for lighter clothes. However, one can choose to buy own bales from the country of your own choice, depending on the available capital, or you can just buy an entire bale from Gikomba.

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Why the Mitumba Business is not Saturated

Most people shy away from venturing into mitumba business thinking it is saturated. The truth is, it is so much profitable. With just 1,000 Kenyan shillings, you can start a small-scale mitumba business and at the end of the day, you will get at least 500 shillings profit. This is much better than staying at home doing nothing or waiting for someone to notice your application letter on their desk.

From about 100,000 tonnes of second-hand clothes imported in Kenya every year, the government get revenues from custom duties and hence creates tens of thousands of jobs. Kenyans also get quality clothes, many of them whom earn less in a month with a pair of new Ralph Lauren khakis cost in the West.

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Why Mitumba business is profitable

Most people still think that mitumba business is a costly and tedious job with a minimal income. This thought is absolutely wrong. It definitely takes hard work to bring food to the table, but the amount of income you earn will depend on your own commitment and marketing strategies you put in place for maximum profit.

The following are reasons you should run a mitumba business in Kenya:

  • Easy to start: with as little as 5,000 Kenyan shillings or less, you can start the business.
  • Ready market: there is high demand for second-hand clothes by Kenyans.
  • Wide variety of clothes: as a business person, one is free to choose second-hand clothes for men, women or children depending on your own preference.
  • No education requires: One does not need a degree or tertiary education to run this business. There are thousands of school drop-outs who have ventured in this business and earns millions of shillings. However, having some financial skills will be an added advantage making you to get ahead of the pack.

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Best places to start mitumba business in Nairobi

  1. Gikomba
  2. Kasarani
  3. Dagoretti
  4. Umoja
  5. Saika
  6. Pipeline
  7. Thika
  8. Kibera
  9. Ngara
  10. Mutindwa
  11. Mlolongo
  12. Kawangware
  13. Embakasi
  14. Syokimau
  15. Muthurwa
  16. Githurai

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Best places to start mitumba business in Mombasa

  1. Kongowea market.
  2. Chaani market
  3. Majengo market.
  4. Sega market.
  5. Buxton market.
  6. Mackinnon market.
  7. Kisauni
  8. Mwembeni, Soko mjinga.

Most profitable mitumba clothes

Mitumba clothes are categorized in grades. There are four grades of mitumba clothes:

  • Grade A: these are second hand clothes which are in near – new condition. They are the most profitable given their high quality and condition.
  • Grade B: these are second-hand clothes which have been slightly used, but are still in good condition.
  • Grade C: are second-hand clothes which have minor defects for example an ink spill, a dent etc. The defects an however be adjusted accordingly before sale.
  • Grade D: are second-hand clothes with major defects.

You can see from the above categories that Grade A mitumba clothes will be more profitable due to their high quality and near new condition when compared to the rest. Also, different types of clothes do well in different places in Kenya depending on several factors: for example, investing on Jackets in Mombasa will less likely give you much profit when you compare the same investment in a place like Limuru which is cold. Mitumba clothes ranges from:

  1. children jackets
  2. Lady T-shirts(fancy tops)
  3. Ladies cotton pants(official trousers )
  4. Mixed blouses
  5. Jegglings ( heavy )
  6. Leggings ( stockings )
  7. School bags.
  8. Men official trousers.

When you play your cards well, putting into consideration all these aspects, be sure of getting even up to 100% profit on the mitumba sales.

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Where to buy Mitumba Bales in Nairobi

1. Premium Mitumba bales

They import and sell a variety of great quality used clothing from Europe(UK, Italy, Germany), Australia, North America (The US and Canada) , and Asia ( Korea, China) .

Address: Digo Road Shop No. 032, Ground floor

Phone: 0723 832253



2. Mitumba Clothes

Address: Gikomba, P. O Box No.347, Meru Rd

Phone: 020 2113230



3. Mitumba Chap Chap

Address: Moi Ave, Nairobi

Phone: 0722 861191



Other trusted mitumba bale suppliers include:

4. All Camera Mitumba BALES

Phone: 0701 047792

5. Top Notch Mitumba Bales

Top Notch Mitumba Bales’ is the leading supplier of UK Grade A bales in Kenya. Reliable, honest and efficient, they pride themselves in consistently supplying the highest quality mitumba bales to their valued customers in a timely manner. They specialize in defect-free, Grade A clothing for children, women and men, as well as mixed bales and general items such as kitchen bales.

Their process is simple and quick – they deliver countrywide at affordable rates.

Phone: 0701 709 837


Address: P.O.Box 26728-00504, Mombasa Road, Nairobi-Kenya




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Written by Dennis Opondo


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