Stitching Her Future Together - Jackline Njeru - Pistis Threads and Stitches

April 27, 2022
Jackline Njeru
Pistis Threads and Stitches
Kenya Aspire Launchpad Graduate - 2020

Interest and self-initiative are two qualities that have propelled Jackline Njeru into the world of business. Her niche is in the fashion industry, and over time she has become comfortable referring to herself as a Fashionpreneur.

At 10-years-old, Jackline found herself drawn to a tailor shop near her family home. The range of clothing on display and all the different designs, materials, and colors engrossed her. Her interest eventually spurred her into the shop, and she witnessed the transformation of cloth into garments. “From then on, I spent most of my free time there once I completed my homework on weekdays or weekends. After visiting with the owners for some time when visiting, I’d help around the shop with small tasks that I learned from observation,” Jackline shares. She would take what she was learning home with her and even sewing clothes for her dolls out of old bedsheets. 

The tailors were friendly and welcoming, given that she was one of the children of the neighborhood. However, they did not know that by accepting little Jackline into their shop, they were helping her carve out the path to her future career.

However, with time and exposure to other prospective formal careers, Jackline became interested in engineering. She qualified to study for a BSc in Civil Engineering, but her knack for fashion never left her. She made a point to invest in her sense of style as she went about her days. In her third year of university, she started a fashion blog with the intent to talk about her style and challenge herself to stay connected to the fashion world. “I’d post about my daily outfits, explaining each piece and sharing some information about the thought process behind the pairing of items. I wanted to advise my readers on how to pair different outfits and find a style that suited them.”

As a budding fashion connoisseur, Jackline’s creative need to find more clothes that fit her aesthetic grew, but she would not always find what she wanted when shopping around. Other times, clothes were above her budget. She challenged herself to develop her own designs and found a tailor to help her bring her vision to life. In doing so, she faced a challenge that most Kenyans face when working with tailors: the lack of honesty and transparency, especially with timelines. If it wasn’t this, it was their execution of the design.

Not to dwell on a hassle, Jackline went back to the drawing board. Memories of her fashion journey came flooding in, and she challenged herself once again. This time to make her designs herself! 

“I knew it was something I could do, and I decided to save up for a sewing machine.” With some financial aid from her parents, she purchased her first sewing machine and was ready to get the ball rolling. She intended to take the sewing machine to her accommodations at school, but this did not sit well with her parents, who assumed the purchase was for pastime when she was home over the weekend. In their mind, carrying the machine to school would distract her from her studies. One more setback was just another bump on her road, and she was able to navigate it by remaining steadfast in her pursuit to convince her parents that she needed to have the machine with her in school. Eventually, they agreed to her plan.

The purchase proved to be useful. Jackline went all out learning, creating, and even starting a small business, creating items for some of her classmates. Her business, Nuru & Stitch, was growing and challenging her to find a balance between her education and her business. As graduation drew nearer, the need to have a stunning outfit filled the air. “Because I’d built a reputation with a number of my classmates, I had the opportunity to make their graduation outfits. So, of course, I had to make my own as well.” No doubt Jackline was on a roll, and with a ready market, she envisioned what her business would look like in the future.

After university, her parents urged her to get a job aligned with her degree. They believed her interest in fashion should be a leisurely pursuit and best reserved for her free time. “I was determined to follow my passion, and I had to remain devoted to this calling, but my parents were persistent, so I got a formal job and put my business on the back burner because I could not juggle both.” Two years after working in a formal office, Jackline could no longer ignore the urge to follow her calling. She was taking Bible classes at the time and learning about the fruits of the Holy Spirit. In these lessons, one word stood out: the Greek word for faithfulness: Pistis. It seemed the right time to transform her business for the better, and she decided to revive it, renaming it Pistis Threads and Stitches. She found an ideal location in the Kasarani area in Nairobi, and the business came to be step by step.

Jackline believed in the power of names and knew that her brand had to stay true to faithfulness as an attribute. One of the ways she began practicing this was by returning the remaining materials to clients once she’d completed their garments. This was her way of remaining loyal to her customers, and they were able to see that they could trust her with the items they took to her.

Revamping a business with intentionality was not easy. Jackline was constantly researching how to grow her business. Then, I saw a Sinapis video on YouTube and learned that their values aligned with my own. I decided to try the Aspire Launchpad in 2020 to grow my business education when my business was still in the idea stage and before I official formalized it.” She attended the Saturday classes, and the Kingdom Business Principles unit reaffirmed her need to build a business founded on faithfulness as a core value.

Additionally, she learned and understood the importance of starting a business with the proper foundation.

“One of the key lessons I learned from Sinapis is to start small. In the case of business ideas, it’s easy to postpone launching an idea because of capital constraints, but there are so many other resources readily available that I can utilize.” 

Almost two years since she joined the Sinapis Launchpad, Jackline has been able to build a team that consists of young people within the Kasarani community. She has experienced tough lessons as an employer responsible for her team’s livelihoods, but this has helped her grow her resilience as an entrepreneur. 

She hopes to grow to include a tailoring school to up-skill budding tailors with the skills to make unique garments and provide a memorable experience. She knows this is possible, and she is working toward joining the Sinapis Entrepreneur Academy to help her work towards her goal. 

Jackline happy reports, “my parents are my greatest support system in terms of my business and I wouldn't be where I am now without their support...even though occasionally they will send me engineering job opportunities to apply 😄"

No items found.