By Edgar R. Batte
Kabakama’s business is to make brides look good making dreams come true. Annestine Kabakama has been a maid of honour more than seven times. These experiences exposed her to the world of bridal wear, the challenges and trends which led her to start her own business writes,
Annestine Kabakama, the proprietor of Caliente Studio, started out with nothing more than a dream and a desire to help brides look their best on their most exciting day. Because she did not have the means to buy and stock bridal wear, she started a Facebook page where she posted the latest and trendy bridal wear combed from the Internet.
Her page soon drew people’s interest. Having established the existence of a ready market, the Business Statistics graduate from Makerere University went ahead to invest Shs10m to open a bridal boutique that deals in bridal accessories, bridal robes, jewellery and other ‘creative’ items. She tailors some of the clothing and imports the rest from Kenya, Thailand and China.
Establishing her brand
Kabakama notes that there are so many people dealing in bridal outfits but hers is different because she handpicks each and every item.
“When I am buying stock, I envision the bride who will wear it and I pick items I feel will make her happy. I should know how frustrated and stressed brides feel looking around for gowns and accessories since I have seen it more than seven times as a maid of honour. So I know exactly the entourage’s expectations from service providers and also what young brides like me will need,” she shares.
Her motivation therefore is to help the bride look her best without too much hustle. “I love wedding and want that day to be memorable for everyone. The bridal wardrobe is one of the highlights of the memories on the wedding day and it should be outstanding in a good way,” Kabakama adds.
When she started out, it was tough getting clients but business has improved with time thanks to Kabakama’s creativity and personalised service.
“I give every bride a personal treatment. Each bride is unique in their tastes and preferences but they are similar in the way they respond to good customer care,” she adds.
She continues to use her social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to advertise her services to potential clients.
Making it work
She keeps her human resource thin and depends on outsourcing whenever there is work that calls for multitasking.
“My accessories are affordable but of high quality. I also watch my expenditure, which is not a hard thing since I have always been economical,” Kabakama explains how she manages to make profit from her boutique.
Her biggest profit so far was Shs300,000, which she earned through selling a set of bridal robes to a bridal entourage. Over time, average savings on a project is Shs200, 000.
On a monthly basis, Kabakama spends an average of Shs4m on rent, commissions and supplies. She does not pay herself arguing that all the money she makes is invested back into the business, adding; “I only make a few necessary drawings once a week or so.”
The 29-year-old says if she had an opportunity to go back in the past the only thing she would do is starting her business sooner than she did. She believes she would be far by now.
Titbits about Kabakama
She was born on February 25, 1989. For her O-Level, Kabakama went Mount St. Mary’s College Namagunga, between 2002 and 2005 before proceeding to King’s College Budo between 2006 and 2007 for A-Level.
She pursued a degree in Business Statistics at Makerere University and did her internship under the corporate communication department at Global Trust Bank.
She holds a diploma in treasury management and foreign business from the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services. Part of her hobbies include making friends, reading magazines and biographies, travelling and browsing the Internet