Banis Githinji | Business Owner
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Banis, I was born and raised in Kenya, I am the 1 st born in my family, I have one brother. I moved to the US at the age of 13. I have a genuine interest in Art and Music. I enjoy going to Art shows, Art museum and galleries. I also love music, and dancing, I have a genuine love for African music and reggae.
I attended boarding school since the tender age of 8, there I learned how to be self-sufficient. I learned how to wash my clothes by hand, braid my own hair, clean, sweep and other significant life skills.
What do you do for a living and why did you choose that job?
I am a Registered Nurse by profession. I have been a nurse for almost 3 yrs now. I am currently in Graduate school, in a Nurse Practitioner Degree. Nursing is my career of choice because I love helping people, and I consider myself a care taker. Nursing is a rewarding career, and I have greatly benefited from it. I have learned a lot about the value of life and health and I am thankful every day for the opportunity God has given me to care for people. I consider it a privilege to care for the sick and I plan to do it for as long I can.
Tell us about your business, and how you came about creating it?.
I founded African Decors back Nov 2014. The focus and goal of African Decors is to promote African culture, and showcase African talent. I believe Africa is a land of treasures, wealth and resources. Every time I go back home, to Kenya, I am amazed by the talent and creativity of our people, especially in the village. These people are able to make so much with so little.
The idea of creating Africa Decors came to me after my first visit to Kenya, back in 2008, I visited the market place to buy some crafts to bring back with me. . At the time, I had just graduated high school and I didn’t have the financial capabilities to execute the plan to create the business. I have always had a passion for business, ever since I can remember. My father told me once, “Whatever you do, do something that your children and children’s children can benefit from” this stuck with me to this day. My greatest motivation is to help and support artists and designers back home. What our company does, is we contract with artists and designers to create certain designs desirable in the market. We promote them by showcasing the designs in the American market as well as back home. At the moment, we have five artists, and we are looking to sign more. We are always looking to sign more, especially those artists and designers in the village. So far, it’s been fruitful, we have been able to meet our goal, to promote our artists and showcase their talents, our artists are happy, our customers are happy. I am optimistic with where we are going, I really am excited about the future of African Decors. On behalf of African Decors and our partners, we are humbled by the support from our customers and friends.
Do you think it is important to have access to clothing, decor and other articles of African culture in foreign countries?
As Africans, we have a rich culture that should be shared, expressed and represented to the world. There is uniqueness about African culture that is so natural, so raw, so original and magnificent. The richness of African culture is extended into our values and traditions which are so influential. Martin Luther King once said “most cherished values` begin to end, the moment we become silent over the things that matter”. Therefore, it is vital for African’s to express their culture, no matter what part of the world you are at. This expression of African Pride can be through clothing, food, music, dances, art, language you name. We can expect to for people to appreciate what, we ourselves, don’t appreciate. So let’s wear our native clothes with pride, accessorize with our beads and cow shells, rock those dread locks and natural hair with pride, say yes to the Dashiki’s, the Ankaras, the Kitenge’s, the Kanzu’s and everything African. I always say, I am so privileged to be African, to be a product of the most beautiful continent in the world.
What advice would you give to others who have a desire to start a business but don't know how to start?
My advice to anyone who wants to start a business is simple, let your idea be your own, and don’t start a business because everyone is starting a business. Have a vision, think it through, get the right connections and execute the idea. Another important lesson I have learned, is to think logically, business is a game of the mind not a game of hearts.
What makes you original?
I am original because I am a risk taker. I don’t doubt my abilities to do something. If I have an idea, I execute my plan no matter how far-fetched the plan may seem. After all, they say you miss all the shots you don’t take, I don’t intend to miss any shots so I take them all.