While in his Senior Six vacation in 2014, Yasin Mutebire tended his uncle’s gents wear boutique, which was located at Equatorial Mall. The boutique specialised in selling all kinds of gents garments; from caps to shirts to shoes.
Yasin told Matooke Republic that for all of the two years he worked, he did not get his full salary because his uncle set aside the salary Yasin earned to cater for his (Yasin’s) tuition fees.
Instead, he was being given a little allowance, good enough even the little he always got seemed enough because he did not have any significant expenses to take care of at the time, meaning he could save as much of his allowance as possible.
“Receiving clients from various corners of town meant that my uncle’s boutique was busy from as early as 7 am till late in the night. I was being paid Shs25,000 as my facilitation fee every week, with a few tips I could save about Shs50,000 in total on my account,” he said.
“The mere fact that Shs5,000 could buy me enough data to jazz (chat) with my friends for a full week, it was easy for me to save the remaining Shs45,000”, Yasin told us.
He added that by the time he joined campus in 2016, he had his receipts cleared by his uncle yet he also had accumulated Shs1.4m on his account.
Despite the fact that he still loved to carry on with his boutique job, he could not make it because his Bachelor in Business Administration course at Makerere University Business School required of him to study during the day.
“Although I was happy about joining campus, I was sad because stopping to work meant that I would not be getting any pay. However, my savings put me on a test of finding out what kind of business I could invest in. It was at this point when a friend from my boutique days advised me to make belts, caps and wallets.
According to Yasin, manufacturing leather belts can be fairly easily and will usually cost less than purchasing a belt—that is if you are equipped with the right tools.
“I used Shs400,000 to buy a strap cutter, razors, rulers, a punch designed to make clean holes through fabric, a leather punch is needed when attaching other items to the leather, an awl (a small pointed tool used for piercing holes in leather), knives, needles, Edge Bevellers (a type of craft tools), hammer, stumps and leather pieces.
“I buy a meter of a leather cloth at Shs24,000 from one of the leather shops in town. From a two-metre leather cloth, I can make about five belts, selling each belt at Shs20,000. My biggest customer base is at Equatorial Mall where I am known most,” he explained, adding that he also supplies his leather crafts to his uncle’s boutique and to some shops at Pioneer Mall.
Although the 22-year-old Yasin encounters challenges of increasing prices of material he needs to make his work look classy, plus a stunted market sometimes, the Second Year BBA MUBs student says he makes more money than he used to while he was working for his uncle, so much so that he sometimes spends sleepless nights working on orders he receives via his phone.