Grace Nyawira


Creative art and craft have always been her passion. While in Karoti Girls High School in Kirinyaga District, she studied art and design. The course fine tuned her talent and after completing secondary school education in 1990, Grace Nyawira started drawing and selling portraits of people, landscapes and animals in Malindi. “There were many people at the coast who bought my paintings and through this, I got more referrals and many orders,” she says.

In 1997, she decided to try out something new and so she moved to Nairobi. Before she could put her finger on what exactly to venture in, Grace continued with her art. However, business was not as good as it was at the coast. Through her interaction with other creative and enterprises minds, Grace ventured into bead works business in 2000.

At first she had a difficult time trying to get a way of coming up with unique designs but with practice she mastered the craft.

Working solo was proving difficult especially when she had many orders to service. The young enterprising lady started training her employees the craft and this made work easier. However, once they gained enough knowledge and skills most of them quit their job to start their own beadwork businesses.

It is then that Grace decided to charge interested artists a small fee for training. In the long run, she was able to differentiate between trainees who were interested in working for her and those who just wanted the knowhow of the craft and then establish their own enterprises.

In 2006, Grace joined Gracious Bahati Women’s Group who were members of PAWDEP. She started making a monthly contribution of Kshs. 200 and in the same year, she was able to secure a loan of Kshs. 20,000 after having been guaranteed by members of her group.

The money was used to construct a shed which acts as her office and workshop in Nairobi’s Bahati Estate. After repaying her loan on time, Grace decided to use her property as collateral and she secured a loan of Kshs. 100,000 in 2009. She pumped the money into her business and this has had a positive impact on her income.

To date, she has come up with unique bead-work designed items that are custom made as per her clients’ wishes. “At times, I make items which I am not familiar with, on clients’ instructions. Nevertheless, they are happy with my performance and through them, I get more and more referrals.”