At just 26 years, Levy Jackson ranks among the most successful student entrepreneurs in Kenya's capital Nairobi.
He has ventured into the fashion world through custom-made designs of beadwork, clothes, bags, shoes, picture frames and photography.
The fourth year commerce student at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in south of Nairobi has employed five permanent staff and four temporary ones.
He has opened two stores from where he runs his operations, one store is at the city's business district and the other near where his university is located.
Ambitious Levy hopes to expand his Levyhoods Creations Empire to incorporate a modelling agency before the end of this year.
Passion in fashion and a desire to leave a legacy are his driving forces in the business which he says he has given his all.
Back in his days at Eastleigh High school in Nairobi, Levy developed an interest in designing T-shirts.
He fondly recalls how he started with only $2 to buy a shirt and acrylic paint.
“This was my starting capital since I sold that T-shirt for $3,” Levy said, adding that he has no regrets over the decision.
His work soon started getting recognition in his neighbourhood, orders started streaming in from all corners of Nairobi thanks to great customer referrals.
The net-worth of his business currently stands at $23,000.
So much going on
By the time he enrolled for his commerce degree, his clientele base expanded to entertainment joints and fashion agencies.
he gradually expanded his portfolio to include custom made jewellery and designing birthday cards.
“With so much going on, I opened my first shop in Ongata Rongai (about 20 Km from Nairobi) where I live,” he said.
He says the shop has since become a manufacturing base. In order widen his clientele base, he opened a Facebook page which has so far close to 50,000 followers.
“It is these potential clients who challenge me to try out more stuff. That is how I introduced the designing of picture frames and hand bags in my business,” he said.
The business earns him more than $5,800 a month after deducting all overheads, with high seasons like Christmas giving better returns.
Aside from orders he gets from his country, Levy receives others from across the border, with dozens of orders from Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
While maintaining disinterest in getting into a business partnership, he says finding capital to fund his expansion strategy remains a challenge.
His father was not always supportive of his move to get into business while still in school, but he has since learnt to accommodate his son’s choice of career - $5,800 a month is a lot of money anywhere.
Levy's piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs: “I always encourage youths to do what they love. They should not stagnate in life simply because they are in one career even when their passion is elsewhere.”