Woody-Nat Limited -10yrs
Even though Kenya may have less art galleries than many other countries, it has an invaluable artistic wealth. One such artist with a passion for design is Nathaniel of Woody-Nat Limited. Art is at times defined as the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments or experiences that can be shared with others. Nathaniel was driven into business by his passion for graphic design.
His journey started close to ten years ago when he was a third year design major at The University of Nairobi. He signed up for an entrepreneurship training programme that was being conducted by EPTF while he was still a student. “They picked me out of the box and left me out in the cold”, he adds. The training experience opened his eyes to opportunities in business and gave him a platform to take his first step.
At the start of his business, Nathaniel was doing the design work, meeting clients, overseeing the production process and handling the deliveries all by himself. He remembers the shock on the faces of his former college mates when he bumped into them on the way to his client’s office while carrying a stack of papers on his head. It would have been easier for them to picture him walking down the corridors of a corporate firm in a suit and tie rather than see him hustling on the streets. He urges entrepreneurs not to follow money but rather to take the time to invest in shaping and growing a business. “Don’t start with money on your mind, if you do, you will have it all wrong” he says.
The greatest advantage of attending EPTF’s entrepreneurship class was that he was able to crystallize his business idea. He realized the need to understand the nitty-gritty’s of his business. While it may look easy to open shop, one will be surprised at how many hidden factors they did not consider. For his business, Nathaniel opted to apprentice in order to gain hands on skills as well as understand the design and production process. He was able to offer his services and products in a different way after understanding the industry. WoodyNat Limited specializes in corporate branding, publications and design, digital and offset printing and promotional materials.
In a country with a high business failure rate, Nathaniel attributes WoodyNat’s success to creativity, an art he says that our society needs to apply in solving pressing challenges. In Kenya, we have learned to be copy cats; we follow into other people’s footsteps without questioning. “Like fuel is to a car so are new ideas to a business – they keep it going”, he explains.
Business and integrity are also inseparable in his view. A business person should do their work with excellence in a way that it can sell itself. This ensures that one does not compromise their values in getting new orders and maintaining client relationships. Nathaniel is also keen on mentoring upcoming entrepreneurs especially in the area of graphic design. There is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to nurture others and also express concern for the community. He has helped launch the careers of a number of young people. He finds it rewarding to see them grow and stand on their feet.
Having a team that shares in his vision and a family that is supportive of his dreams, he envisions WoodyNat as a one-stop media house in the near future. Nathaniel is currently enrolled in a master’s programme majoring in design and is positioning himself to stand out in the industry. His advice to upcoming entrepreneurs would be to have a goal and a vision for themselves and never to give up. He also advices young entrepreneurs to seek mentoring opportunities as well as entrepreneurship training. You need to know which direction you want to take and identify what you need to do.
Nathaniel’s all time philosophy is borrowed from Phillipians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”