Today on Pearls And Heels we feature Miriam Kadzitu. Miriam Kadzitu has a great way of describing herself. “I am from the coastal region of Kenya and I am addicted to doughnuts. I am the daughter of the most amazing mother on earth, sister to the six craziest people I know and aunty to the best boys in the world. I co-own a digital firm with two of my sisters. We basically give digital business solutions and manage events and we recently started a production arm. We call ourselves Code Inc. At Code Inc, I do Client service and production. I love it.”
- Describe your typical day.
Well, my day is pretty straightforward. I can’t say that I have a routine. It just depends on what needs to be done on that day. My day starts at 8 AM, and basically kicking butt at whatever it is that has to be done on the day. When we are in the production phase, like this month (Thanks to Too Early For Birds, get your tickets btw) my day starts at 6 am and ends almost at midnight. But I love it. Most of the time, it is spent in meetings or brainstorming with my sisters.
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh my! I wanted to be so many things like a mama mboga, because I used to see this particular lady in Mombasa who would cut Sukuma Wiki with so much skill and I wanted to be that good at something. At some point, I wanted to be a marine engineer, Then I actually applied to study Urban Planning in Campus, but didn’t go through with that, but most of all I wanted to be a lawyer. Growing up, we used to watch The Practice, and that had a lot to do with me wanting to be a lawyer. Especially watching Ellenor Frutt and Alan Shore. I wanted to be just like them. But here I am now, doing none of those things and loving it. Funny how life turns out yeah?
- If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would probably have started it earlier because I find joy in what I do.
It is funny how we got into this, Zosi (one of the founding partners) and I happened to be jobless at the same time. I had been home for a month and I thought to myself that there is no way I was going back to employment. I had been employed for 4 years and I was not seeing how I was going to do another 4 years. So, we went to Mombasa to think about our lives and how we would survive the very harsh Nairobi. At some point, we were even thinking of moving back to Mombasa to start life over but then one morning I said to Zosi, “You know we can do this ourselves, right?” We merged our skills in Strategic Digital Marketing (Zosi) and Events planning (Myself) and we had our first baby, Code Inc. We came back to Nairobi and scored June Gachui as our very first Client. A year later, our youngest one joined us and she oversees Content and Strategy. Don’t worry; we do not over work her.
- What would you say are the top three skills needed to succeed at your job?
Communication. You would have to be good at communication because clients like being catered to. So, do service providers.
Time management. You can’t afford to waste time because someone else might just do your job for you.
Organization. Well because you can’t afford to be disorganized at this. Make one false move and that’s just that. It creates a domino effect and simply messes everything up. So actually, this is key. You have to be organized.
- As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Nairobi has been kind to me so far. You simply cannot afford to lag behind in this city because someone is always coming up with a fresh idea and you simply just need to keep up or go home. It can definitely do better in terms of people accepting to pay well for the services that are offered to them. More opportunities ought to be put out there for the younger generation as well.
My biggest challenge in Nairobi is that every market is saturated in every field. In our industry, you are simply easily replaceable. This is both a good thing and a bad thing in that, if you do not do your job, then someone else will do it for you so you have to strive to be the best at everything you do.
Nairobi also has to get out of this mentality that if someone is a business owner, then they automatically have two things. Time and money. Well, that is not the case, as I speak from a business owner’s perspective. You do not have time because you have to work twice as hard and put in double the amount of time to make things work. And No, we do not always have money. Our money goes to bills, necessities and back into the business.
- What motivates you?
The desire to be better than I was yesterday. Both at work and in my relationships.
- How do you define success?
When I achieve every single thing I set out to do in a single day. No matter how small, no matter how large, if I do it by the end of the day, then I have attained success.
- Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My mother and my two little nephews. These three people make me want to do better, to be better just so that they are better too. I do everything I do for these three people. Most important people in my life.
- What is your favourite aspect of your job?
I get to make people happy. I get to see other businesses develop and to some extent, we play a role in it. Also, when it comes to production, I get this exciting feeling after I have overworked myself for so long and I see the event coming together. It is exactly the same feeling I get when I see my food coming out of the kitchen at a restaurant and then it tastes so good after the wait! It is an amazing feeling and I know you relate.
- What would you say are the key elements to being successful?
Humility. It is that simple. There is nothing that can be done on this earth without being humble. Humility in how you treat people that you work with and humility in helping people. In every aspect of your life, you ought to be humble. Be humble (See what I did there?)
- What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your line of work?
Get into it only if you want to. Get into it only if it is something you love to do because if you don’t, this will swallow you. Not to scare you, but it takes a lot of work and heart to do what we do. It takes passion and patience.
Also, if you can, go to school. Learn more, interact with people with the same interests so that you get to think like them or even better than them and challenge yourself to be a better version of yourself, every day.
- What has been your most satisfying moment in terms of career?
I am self-employed, and I manage my own time. I don’t think it gets more satisfying than this.
- What makes you happy?
Doughnuts, wine, music and one-liners. Discovering things that nobody else knows. I find so much satisfaction in showing somebody something new. Normally it is something that is very irrelevant. And my boyfriend (Only that I do not have one right now)
- What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Travelling. Karaoke. Cooking.
When I am not working, I am constantly learning about Wines and Whiskeys. I know a bit too much more than I should know about these two particular subjects. I am also trying to refresh my French as I study Arabic and take Kikuyu Lessons from a couple of people.
- Where do you see yourself in around 10 years?
As a very successful producer, and hopefully having trained a few people in the field of production. Doing this from a very big office that is also my living room, because of comfort.
If you would like to interact with Miriam you can find her on Twitter at @misskadzitu, on Instagram and on Facebook.
Pearls And Heels: Maggie Karanja