Fred Opuki “Boogie” Gonzo
Fred loves what he does and sees it as both a hobby and business. Not only does he love it, but he makes money in the process. Say’s Fred “When I arrived in California my brother Alex lived near the beach. I visited and observed how business was conducted and realized it was like that in Nairobi Kenya and thought perhaps it might be a good set up for me”. Fred elaborates, “I didn’t need any initial training since we took courses as youth in my country on how to create beautiful pieces of jewelry, woodwork and art on canvas. I just took what I learned and continued the process of what would not only be beautiful but what would sell here in California”
One thing Fred learned, “Through trial you learn, if the people love the product they will come. Clients came in time, by establishing great relationships with the community, other artists and people who live in neighboring areas. I am always on my “hospitality toe’s” ensuring customers and potential customers feel special by showing them new created pieces”.
Challenges are seasonal, says Fred “with patience and love of my product from the community my head was and is always above water thanks to God. Patience, my faith with much prayer is my recipe for success”.
When it comes to paperwork “It’s not much of an issue since Kenya has a African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) System – https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/trade-development/preference-programs/african-growth-and-opportunity-act-agoa. The AGOA Act is a system in which the USA supports small business by not charging taxes for small amounts of products. By allowing products to come through duty free, it helps to maintain an easier way to do business keeping”.
Boogie leaves us with his advice for new and existing business owners. “Give yourself at least three years with patience, something will give. Also, remember to be respectful and friendly with all people, whether they be homeless, drug addicted or wealthy. Perhaps a smile and laughter would help too!”