Have hundred bob, dress like a superstar

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By Akello Odenyo (www.standardmedia.co.ke)

Customers make their selections in the Think Twice shop in Kitengela where everything sold is 100 bob. ON 02/01/2018. (Jenipher Wachie. Standard)

IN SUMMARY

  • At the Think Twice shops, Sh100 is all you need
  • The store deals in second-hand clothes and everything is standardised
  • The shop has 10 branches located in Kitengela, Kasarani, Utawala, Ongata Rongai, Zimmerman, Eastleigh

The only shops known to be full to capacity in January are those selling school books, school uniform and shoes. But when a deal is good, any day is shopping day. Think Twice Second Hand Clothes shops are aware of how much good deals draw the attention of potential consumers, which is why they have a standardised price of Sh100 for all their items. Dennis Omose, the area manager, says the items are priced in two cycles, with a drop by at least Sh50 every day.

“We price our items in two-week cycles, which is when we bring in new stock. On opening a new stock, we set ceiling prices. The maximum pricing for all our new stock is Sh400. Men’s shoes are Sh1,200 while household items such as curtains, duvets and carpets have a maximum cost of Sh1,500,” says Mr Omose. He adds that opening days are always advertised outside the outlets and on their social media platforms. “We also have ‘happy hour’ when we lower the prices. This is to accommodate everyone while still functioning in a highly competitive market,” he says.

Manager says the items are priced in two cycles, with a drop by at least Sh50 every day. (Jenipher Wachie. Standard)

On the second day of January, the Think Twice (commonly referred to as T2 by regulars) shop in Kitengela is full of people shopping for clothes, shoes and bags. As we arrive at the shop at 12 noon, a number of cars are parked outside the shop and there are long queues of people at the cashier’s till, indicating a busy day. It is impossible to avoid bumping into shoppers carrying huge bags from the shop as we walk inside, where a bigger crowd is busy pulling neatly hanged clothes from the stands and dropping them into their already full baskets.

“You are staring at the number of people here now; what will you say when you come back in the evening or when new stock is being opened?” asks Felister Mwende, a customer.

Customers making their shoe choices. (Jenipher Wachie. Standard)

Outside the fitting room, a handful of people are still looking around, touching clothes hanging near them as they wait for their turn to try on the clothes they have picked.

VERY BUSY

“It is usually very busy around this hour as people who are out on lunch break rush here to pick a few clothes before returning to work,” explains cashier Alice Mutuku as she directs us to the supervisor. Ms Mwende, says she prefers shopping during her lunch break as there are even more people in the evening. As she pulls something from a shelf and tries it on before returning it and picking another, her eyes are fixed on a purple dress in the corner of the shop.

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“I hope she puts that dress back; how did I miss it? I thought I had checked that entire row,” she mutters.

Think Twice shop in Kitengela cashier Alice Mutuku bills out customers on 02/01/2018. (Jenipher Wachie. Standard)

Mwende, who works at the nearby Export Production Zone (EPZ) Company, says many staff members from the company stop at the shop every evening to check new arrivals and drops in prices. “A day before new stock is opened, Think Twice gives awesome deals – from as low as Sh30 – while the day new arrivals are opened, you can land a fortune here. On such days, customers flock to the shop and fill it to the brim,” she explains, eyes still on the purple dress. In one day, the Kitengela branch serves at least 500 clients, with the numbers rising during opening and clearing of stock.

Think Twice has 10 branches located in Kitengela, Kasarani, Utawala, Ongata Rongai, Zimmerman, Githurai 45, Obama, Eastleigh, Ruai and Bee Centre near Kayole. They stock, shoes, women’s, men’s and children’s clothes, carpets and mats, home textiles such as curtains and bedding, bags, toys and much more. The shop initially prices items differently, but they range within a set price that is usually indicated at the entrance. While different outlets give a maximum price of Sh100, some price the items at Sh150 or Sh200, which most customers still rate as affordable.

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With these prices, small-scale traders buy items in bulk for resale at a profit. Maurice and Mercy Nzomo have already filled their third basket, but their shopping is not about to stop. “Men’s trousers are going for Sh100 today; the resale prices is more than five times that amount so these are not enough,” explains Maurice. He says initially, he would wake up very early to go to Gikomba market to get menswear, which was always more highly priced than at T2. “I prefer shopping here because the clothes are hanged, making it easy to select.

Up to around May last year, I would wake up very early to go and look for clothes in Gikomba,” he says. “Since the clothes there are placed in heaps, you have to turn them over and over before you can start selecting good ones. By the time you are done, you are very tired from bending. This also takes a lot of time so you don’t get to visit many stalls.” Mercy says there is no longer need to wake up early and spend fare to the market and back, since T2 is within their neighbourhood. “Waking up early every week is not easy. I was once attacked by thugs on my way to the market at 5am. I lost everything before my husband took over,” she says.

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“But he occasionally also loses his phone or cash when he goes to Gikomba, so we eventually settled on T2 because of the convenience it offers.”

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