In 2013, Mercy Kitomari quit her job at the bank and left to begin her entrepreneurial journey—making organic ice cream, that would later turn her into a successful Tanzanian entrepreneur in Dar es Salaam.
If you have quitted a job before, to start a business without having any idea of what is going to happen next, then you should know how scary it could be.
Mercy Kitomari dared to find out what the future holds for her outside the bank.
When Mercy started Nelwa’s Gelato ice cream, it wasn’t just the ice cream that was organic. She took an organic approach as well.
80% of Nelwa’s Gelato ice cream followers on social media are organic. She brilliantly employed the direct-to-customer marketing strategy with no cost via WhatsApp and Instagram.
“In those days I made the ice cream at night for delivery the next day. In between, I would post on social media,” she narrated.
Things were not always chilly and sweet. The Tanzanian entrepreneur struggled to remain consistent.
3 years after starting, Mercy Kitomari later closed down the retail outlet in Dar es Salaam suppying ice cream to several supermarkets. According to the entrepreneur, it was time to focus more on production and expansion.
“I closed our outlet just before the end of 2016. I had to figure out which direction I wanted to go and have since decided to focus on production, rather than trying to enter the retail business,” she explains. “The dream is to expand to more regions, which is a lot easier when you work business-to-business, supplying to retailers.”
Currently—but not precisely as of the time of writing this article, the ice cream brand produces about 1,000 to 2,000 litres of ice cream in a month.
Speaking of expansion, Mercy Kitomari says:
“I am still hopeful we can start with some exports in 2024. We are looking to find the right partner; Nelwa’s is looking to invest in a refrigerated truck. We’ll see.”
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By Elijah Christopher