Rosette Birungi started with hawking only 10 shirts and today her business has tremendously grown.

In Summary
No looking back. After several failed attempts to find a lucrative job in the formal world, with only Shs300,000, Rosette Birungi started hawking 10 shirts and today her business has tremendously grown. Besides hawking, she earns from finding office space and apartments to rent for clients, writes Gabriel Buule

No looking back. After several failed attempts to find a lucrative job in the formal world, with only Shs300,000, Rosette Birungi started hawking 10 shirts and today her business has tremendously grown. Besides hawking, she earns from finding office space and apartments to rent for clients, writes Gabriel Buule

Rosette Birungi attended an A-grade secondary school and she holds a diploma in psychology. But this did not stop her from embracing the life of a hawker. 
She had a short stint working with National ID registration exercise as a temporary worker. When the opportunity closed, she started out as a hawker and she has never looked back. 
Her worries became history the day she decided to sweep her pride under the carpet and began hawking clothes.

How she started
After failing to get better job offers, Birungi’s aunt gave her Shs500,000 to start a small business, to make ends meet. “It took me days to think about the exact business I wanted to start. I had no idea how I could use Shs500,000 to rent a shop, pay trading license and purchase stock. My friend, Jane Besimire introduced me to selling clothes. I bought her idea and that is how I started out,” Birungi recounts.

She says she decided to go to the saloon, plaited her hair and bought nice clothes, which cost her Shs200,000. She then used the remaining Shs300,000 to buy shirts as stock and took to the streets.
“I needed to look presentable to appeal to clients. When you are smart and decently dressed, it is hard for people to chase you out of their offices. I have seen people chasing vendors out of offices because they do not mind about how they dress,” Birungi adds She used Shs300,000 to buy 10 quality shirts. While she spent several weeks selling her shirts, this did not kill her determination. 
Birungi later made friends with garment dealers, who purchase stock in bulk, from foreign countries. These in turn sold to her and she maintained supply.

She says she decided to go to the saloon, plaited her hair and bought nice clothes, which cost her Shs200,000. She then used the remaining Shs300,000 to buy shirts as stock and took to the streets.

“I needed to look presentable to appeal to clients. When you are smart and decently dressed, it is hard for people to chase you out of their offices. I have seen people chasing vendors out of offices because they do not mind about how they dress,” Birungi adds

She used Shs300,000 to buy 10 quality shirts. While she spent several weeks selling her shirts, this did not kill her determination. 
Birungi later made friends with garment dealers, who purchase stock in bulk, from foreign countries. These in turn sold to her and she maintained supply.

Business tricks
“I make sure I am smart before I head out to sell. I wear a smile on my face whenever I am talking to clients”.
Just like any organized business, Birungi has branded paper bags that she makes her self to pack clothes for her clients.
Birungi says she sometimes chooses to dine in corporate places, hang out in casinos, saunas and high-end hotels, just to target clients with purchasing power, a trick she says, has paid off.
Birungi who does not pay rent for her business, says, she only makes phone calls to get in touch with her clients. “All I do is share pictures of the items I sell on social media and contact my clients via WhatsApp.” In addition, she says she makes friends every day who end up becoming her clients.

Challenges
“It seemed hard at first because you have to make this your full-time job. You must find the market. Sometimes I go to the gym or other corporate places to talk to people about my business. Some get convinced and actually buy. Sometimes, I am humiliated, sexually harassed and payments are delayed, yet the business requires capital to run. Sometimes people mistake me for a spy,” Birungi adds.
Birungi says some male clients use a language that sometimes offends her, but she cannot speak out for fear of losing clients.
In the same light, some of Birungi’s friends despise her for hawking clothes. Some say I hide behind hawking to execute security tasks, which is a false accusation,” she adds.

The dream
“There is a huge market and clients are available. I only need to add in more capital in the business,” she says, adding that, “On a good day,I make Shs200,000 and on a bad day, Shs100,000, she explains.
Birungi says that she hopes to own a delivery van that will ease her movements and make her reach out to many clients.
Having moved in almost all corners of Kampala City, Birungi says she intends to set up a home to accommodate city destitutely.

Brief profile
Born in 1988, Rosette Birungi hails from Mbagwa village in Bushenyi District.
She studied at Greenhill Academy for Primary, O-Level, and A-Level. She holds a Diploma in Psychology from Nkumba University.

What keeps my business going 
“Before I head out of my house, I make sure I am smart enough to meet clients. I wear a smile on my face whenever I am talking to clients.”
Birungi says she sometimes chooses to dine in corporate places, hang out in casinos, saunas and high-end hotels, just to target clients with purchasing power, a trick she says, has paid off.

Just like any organised business, Birungi has branded paper bags that she makes her self, which she uses to pack clothes for her clients.
Birungi, who does not pay rent for her business, says she only makes phone calls to get in touch with her clients. 

“All I do is share pictures of the items I sell on social media and contact my clients via Whatsapp.” In addition, she says she makes friends every day, who end up buying from her.

After moving around several buildings and places transacting business, some clients ask to help them find office space and apartments to rent, a thing that makes her earn commission as she hawks her clothes.