Daisy Njagi’s upbringing exposed her to the numerous benefits of healthy living. While a young girl in Embu County, she witnessed numerous people come to see her mother, a nurse, for medical advice and medication. “My mother stressed increased intake of fruits and vegetables,”she recalls. To Daisy’s surprise, the same guests would return a week later to share the large improvements that they had noticed after changing their diets. It was at that point that Daisy realized diet had a direct impact on people’s health. Years later, Daisy’s firstborn daughter developed childhood asthma because she was unable to exclusively breastfeed for six months. As a flight attendant of a local airline at the time, she had a very busy schedule.
Employing the use of her mother’s health tips as witnessed when she was a child, she noticed her daughter’s asthma attacks reduced and became less intense. It was also at the same time that Daisy met a man on one of her flights who introduced her to nutritional benefits of Omega 3. Daisy then fused use of these supplements and healthy foods in her daughter’s daily routine. After 7 months, her daughter was off inhalers and able to carry out activities like swimming too. The Bachelor of Commerce graduate from Kenyatta University felt the need to impact other people’s lives and entice them to pursue healthy living.
In September 2012, Daisy was retrenched from work and had to look for another means of supporting her family. As a multilevel marketer of health supplements, the idea of founding Elyama Foods was born.
Daisy could not rely solely on the sale of health supplements. Elyama Foods grew from distributing health supplements to offering health and wellness talks to groups, corporate and schools. These talks entailed informing the public about making right lifestyle changes. The company then opted to sell electric lunch boxes as well. From interacting with people at her health talks, Daisy realized that unhealthy eating habits at work were due to the fact that people did not have microwaves in their offices. This led people to eat chips and fried foods readily available in town. This third product that was introduced in early 2015 did very well in the market. Elyama Foods also launched cassava flour in March of this year. This product was inspired by Daisy aiming to fill the food security gap in Kenya after witnessing the 2008 drought.
Daisy has grown her business beyond the Kenyan and also opened an office in Kampala, Uganda.
Daisy built a successful customer base by giving good customer service and doing intense online marketing. However, she encountered several challenges before reaching where she is today. “Resources were a big problem in the beginning,” she recalls. She rushed into buying land to plant cassava without sufficient processing machinery. This led to cassava going to waste. Daisy is now very careful when it comes to saving and planning as her business is quickly expanding.
Daisy said that having a business mentor was crucial in her journey. She was mentored by James Karundu in the formative stages of her business. James is a business coach, author and founder of PassionBiz Academy. “Having a coach worked for me because he told me some of the pitfalls to avoid,” she said. “He showed me how to go about it and I was confident as he taught me some of the strategies to be successful,” she adds. Daisy also attributes networking to being one of the reasons she has been successful. She is a member of a formal networking organisation and also attends numerous business events.
Daisy urged for people interested in starting their own businesses to be passionate about the venture. “Make sure it is something you can do even when the money is not rolling,” she said. She also insisted that an individual should be persistent in order to grow their business.
You can watch the video of her interview below: