Vida Nasari is one of those skilled freelancers’ workers who work outside their regular jobs to earn an extra income. Before venturing into the cleaning detergent business, Vida Nasari was a marketing manager in Coca-Cola’s Tanzanian company, and was also a marketing consultant to other companies that had completely different business interests to Coca-Colas’. She also started a dedicated platform for women to discuss marriages, businesses amongst other things.
In July 2013, Vida Nasari decided to end her time with Coca-Cola to start her own business, Kazymate. 2 years after leaving Coca-Cola, Vida Nasari launched her company that focuses on the manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of household cleaning detergents under the brand Viax. She explained in an interview; “Coming from a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) background, I wanted to use that knowledge and experience to build my own manufacturing business,” She researched different sectors and finally settled on manufacturing cleaning products.
In 2015, when she launched Viax, she started with three employees and began to produce packaged multipurpose soap and toilet liquid soap for her friends and neighbors. Later on, people started asking for other cleaning products. She gradually obliged, making more products and employed more workers. Viax now has 20 product lines across three categories;
1) Personal hygiene: shower gel, shampoo, bar soaps and hand washing soap
2) General cleaning: multipurpose, disinfectant, window cleaner, car soap
3) Household needs: toilet gel, dishwashing liquid, tile cleaners e.t.c
Vida Nasari had to use her personal savings to keep the business running including loans from the bank and only did made profit two years after the business was established.
“My experience at Coca-Cola helped a lot when I started my business. It gave me the confidence I needed beyond the master’s degree I obtained. I learnt a lot about marketing and sales techniques from the best trainers in the world as well as practicing it. I was exposed to all kinds of situations that I later encountered when I started my business.”
She also said she had challenges along the way, notably one time, at the early stages, they almost went bankrupt because of some of her employees’ greed. She found out what their intentions were and fired them. She started using recruitment agencies from that moment on.
Another challenge she had was the bureaucracy of registering her business. When she began to register her products for certification it became a costly nightmare. She found out that there was no difference between the registration process for small and medium-sized enterprises and large companies. “We were all categorized as one,” she recalls. She then joined an association that was advocating for an enabling environment for manufacturers and there, she found guidance from other business owners. She also recalled a week in March 2017 when she almost gave up due to payment delays by customers, which left her with no money. She had made a huge purchase the previous week, which left her with no money to pay her employees, service the delivery trucks or pay the monthly loan. She says that moment was so difficult, but it had taught her how to structure payments in the future.
Vida Nasari’s advice; “People who plan to start a business should understand that it is a difficult but rewarding journey. They should be prepared to work very hard, sacrifice some things, but be smart about it. Do enough research. Know the rules and regulations. Understand the market and make sure that you offer what the market wants, not what you think or are capable of offering. Set your goals and hold yourself accountable. If you cannot do it alone, your business partner should have the attributes and strength that you do not have so that you can complement each other, not competing with one another.”