Tracey’s ‘Saati Yo’ becoming a household name
Talking t-shirts is what many call them, but to Stacey Lubowa, they are ‘Saati Yo’, a way to allow your creativity and attitude to flow through what you wear. This is something Stacey delights in and the passion was borne out of wanting to get another source of income to supplement her 8 to 5 peanut-paying job.
The journey started in 2018 when Stacey joined hands with Rowena, her sister, to start a business of customising t-shirts. As such, ‘Saati Yo’ loosely means, ‘your t-shirt’.
With a printing machine that they had not put to full use, the duo thought now was the time to make extra money. Additionally, there were a few hours after work that they could use to get beneficially creative. As such, while the creative caps were worn in the night, the marketing caps came on in the morning in form of deliveries.
With a very supportive sister, Stacey believed that it was only a matter of time before the business would blossom. Coupled with Stacey’s energy and great work ethic, this is indeed a winning team.
It has been four years since its inception and ‘Saati Yo’ is growing by leaps and bounds. The sisters have also managed to get support staff. “With extra help, we can get more done coupled with more working time because unlike in the beginning, it is not all on our heads.”
They have also managed to move from their sitting room to an office space. Their efforts allow for Ugandans to wear homebred talking t-shirts with words, sentiments, and languages they identify with rather than that which is imported. Think of wearing a t-shirt in your local language! That is identity personified.
The journey has not been devoid of bumps such as challenges in setting up and managing business systems as well as managing cash flow. Stacey says there is always something new to learn amidst the many hiccups. The duo also has a continuous struggle to get the most out of their support staff. Their dream is to become an employment source with the bar set at having 1,000 people and more benefitting from their brainchild in the next 10 years.
“Our desire is to have various points in the supply chain that create employment for people. We also look forward to having a large warehouse where we can enlarge our customisation of various clothing items beyond t-shirts as well as create expressive items,” Stacey shares.
Advice to entrepreneurs
“You do not have to have everything figured out to build the business,” Stacey says. However, there is power in collaboration, thus look for someone who can complement your skills. The adage ‘If you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk with someone’, works in entrepreneurship.
Oftentimes, entrepreneurs are bent on starting their own thing and everyone must like it. However, Stacey says, not everyone must subscribe to that thought trajectory.