Malimali Business in Kenya: Rose’s Experience

Last Updated on: 22nd March 2024, 11:55 am

Malimali business in Kenya is a type of business investment in which you can sell a wide range of products, from utensils and other household items and electronics to all sorts of plastics. This business gives you a leeway to dive into the business fraternity with capital starting from Ksh.20k.

A Malimali business thrives in almost any location in Kenya, from big towns to local towns in the villages. 

This blog explains everything you need to know about Malimali business in Kenya. I managed to interview Rose, a Malimali business vendor in Machakos, Kenya. 

Be keen and note the key points we shall get from an experienced Malimali business owner with over five years in this particular business. 

Cecilia: So, Rose, tell us more about yourself in this business.

Rose: Hi Cecilia, thank you for having me here. As I told you earlier, I started this business in 2017, three months after being laid off. 

I started small, had 100k savings, and only committed 30k to start the business. I didn’t want to risk pumping all my money into a business I’m not sure would work. You know the saying, “Never put all your eggs in one basket. 

From the 30k, I spent 5k to pay for the shop rent, 4k for the business permit, 6k for shelves and counter, and 15k for starting stock. However, within the first month, I added another 10k from my savings since the business had shown some positive vibes. 

Cecilia: Wow! That’s impressive, Rose.

A shelf of household items in Top Ten Malimali business in Nairobi

What to Sell in a Malimali Business in Kenya

Cecilia: So, Rose, what do you sell in a Malimali business in Kenya? 

Rose: When I started, I just started with a few household items such as plates, bowls, spoons, sufurias, flasks, buckets, and basins. However, I am selling the following since my Malimali business has grown.

Household Items

Household Items in a Malimali business in Kenya

I noticed that household items are fast-moving, especially with more people moving from rural areas to settle in towns for business or employment. During the start of my business, my clients were new people in town who were buying items to start a new life in Machakos. In addition, the college students are good clients for household items here. 

Right now, I have stocked all sorts of plates, cups, bowls, spoons, glasses, hotpots, sufurias, basins, buckets, flasks, jugs, mobs, and mattresses. In addition, I have also stocked home decor products such as carpets, wallpapers( 3D and normal), wall nets, curtains and curtain rails, table covers, seat covers, etc.

I have also stocked electric kettles, irons, ironing boards, fruit blenders, washing machines, pressure cookers, microwaves, and blow dryers.


Electronics items on a Malimali business

I also have a section for electronics, such as bulbs, wiring cables, memory cards, flash disks, USB cables, chargers, radios,  universal chargers, chargeable lamps, torches, batteries, bed switches, and power extensions.

Self-Care Products

Self care products for Malimali business in Kenya

I have also stocked self-care and beauty products in my Malimali business, from Cutex, make-up kits, glycerine, baby diapers, sanitary pads, petroleum jelly from different brands, necklaces, rings, perfumes, braids and weaves.


stationary products

My Malimali business has all sorts of stationary and back-to-school items. My shop has writing books, pens, pencils, dictionaries, Kamusis, Bibles, rulers, paper reams, etc.

In addition, I have also stocked other items, such as shoe polish and brushes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, school metal boxes, metal buckets, non-woven bags and khaki bags.

All these items boost each other during off-and-on seasons. For instance, when schools open, we usually sell stationary and school-related items. This increases our income since it’s during back to school when some businesses are down. 

Cecilia: What a strategy! Im sure you reap some good profits from the business. So, Rose, how profitable is Malimali business in Kenya?

Is Malimali Business Profitable?

Rose: Yes. Malimali business is profitable in Kenya. However, the profitability depends on the items you’ve stocked.

One thing I noticed about a Malimali business in Kenya is that customers need to buy from a fully stocked store. No one likes to enter almost all the shops in town to buy a list of items. 

In addition, having various items stocked in your shop attracts impulse buying. Customers will see something they need and buy it, regardless of whether they had planned or not.

To realise high profits, you should also minimise your expenses as much as possible. You should have your salary, which you use for upkeep. This idea helps to keep you away from your business cash. Therefore, at the end of each month, I usually have close to constant expenses, shop rent, salaries, and power bills.

In addition, record keeping is another way to know how much profit you make in a Malimali business in Kenya. For instance, I consistently record all expenses for which I use business money. 

In addition, I usually write everything I sell in a book and have a system to input it electronically. These records help me measure the net worth of my business. 

I would say that I have loved record-keeping from the beginning. Before I could afford a computer system for the business, I used a mobile app known as My Business, which helped me monitor my stock levels, purchases, sales and other records about the business.

Cecilia: Those are great insights. I hope whoever reads this will implement these tips to maximise profits and track their business progress. 

So, Rose, what challenges do you face in your Malimali business?

Challenges in Malimali Business in Kenya

Rose: Every business has its share of challenges, and Malimali business is no exception.

In my years in business, I have faced the following challenges. 

Employee Theft

When I remember how some of my past employees have tried to sabotage my business, I feel so bad. Can you imagine someone selling a blender worth Ksh 4k and trying to pocket the cash? Hey, some people like reaping where they didn’t sow. 

There was a time when I laid off all my staff( three employees on the same day). On this fateful day, a customer returned with a blender that had some faults. 

Luckily, the client got me to the shop and explained about the blender. But what amazed me was that she didn’t have a receipt. And I have always made it clear that all customers should be issued with a receipt.

So I asked her why she didn’t have a receipt, and she said she only paid through M-Pesa and wasn’t issued the receipt. She got me the message, and the money was sent to one of my employees. 

Amazingly, when the money was transferred, there was no record of selling the blender, so it was evident that the employee had pocketed the cash. They shared amongst themselves. That’s why I fired them all in one day.

Indeed, many businesses in Kenya are going down due to employee theft. And that is the wrong direction in a country where youths are jobless. 

External Theft

Once in the five years + I have been in this Malimali business, thieves broke into my shop and carried a washing machine, other high-value products and some cash. 

Indeed, this incident brought me to my knees, and I spent a year plus to overcome the loss that I experienced. 

From that day, I invested in CCTV cameras and electric padlocks that would turn on sirens in case they were touched at night. I also have a watchman for my door.


I have incurred losses due to poor handling of fragile products such as utensils and plastics. In most cases, employees or customers break something, and it’s not always that I recover from the employee’s salary or charge the customer.

However, nowadays, I have invested in shelves that store fragile products, hence reducing the level of breakages. 

Cecilia: I’m sorry for your losses through theft. I’m glad you taught those employees a life lesson. It’s confusing how people would beg you for a job only to come and steal from you. 

So, Rose, can you recommend some Malimali wholesale shops in Nairobi for startups?

Malimali Wholesale Shops in Nairobi

Rose: Ooh, yes. It’s always a great idea to source your Malimali business products from the city, where you will get fair deals to help you glow in profits.

Here are some of the Malimali wholesale shops I recommend in Nairobi.

  • Top Ten Malimali traders in Kamukunji near Police station
  • The Place shopping mall in Kamukunji
  • The Coin Enterprise in OTC

I mostly get my stock from these shops and some other products from manufacturers.

Malimali Business in Kenya: What Next?

You can now start a Malimali business in Kenya with as little as 30k, just like Rose. Take away all that she has told about her journey in the Malimali business. I trust that she has told us what can also work for anyone else in Kenya. 

You only need to be ambitious, and you will make it. Malimali business is among the businesses you can start with 50k in Kenya

Malimali Business in Kenya: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much does it cost to start a Malimali business in Kenya?

With at least 30k, you can start a Malimali business in your preferred location in Kenya. You can keep upgrading your business according to demand. 

  1. What is sold in Kamukunji?

Kamukunji is one of the greatest markets for Malimali products in Kenya. In this area, you will get all sorts of household items to buy and start a Malimali business.

  1. How much is a blender in Kamukunji? 

A blender in Kamukunji would cost starting from Ksh.2500, depending on the quality you need. 

2 thoughts on “Malimali Business in Kenya: Rose’s Experience”

  1. I want to start malimali business how can help me. And where i can get malimali to sell whole sell and Ritel

    • Hi Patrick,

      I can help you craft a business plan for a malimali business, at a cost though.
      You can source malimali items at Nairobi( Kamukunji area)


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