James Mwamisi turns hobby into lucrative career

While many of us have not discovered our hobbies, James Mwamisi is among the few Kenyans who are currently earning over KES 160,000 monthly courtesy of a venture started as a hobby.

In his childhood Mwamisi discovered his passion for design but never though that one day he would be able to earn from it.

From after high school Mwamisi started different businesses including T-Mag, which was an urban magazine. This did not pick up because of lack of funding. While pursuing his education at Kenyatta University he tried different businesses he has innovated. The Washers was a cleaning business. Kaftan was an extreme outdoor event organizing company. These did not succeed. He decided to start an investment company known as Baroque. “From a contribution of KES 500 per month from 5 of us, we were able to invest in stock and grow to KES 80,000 in less than 1 year” he said. The company was dissolved, profits shared after a year.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Planning & Management at Kenyatta University in 2007, Mwamisi decided to pursue his passion for design and turn it into a business. He began Klay-klay in 2008.

As the selling statement indicates: ‘A World of Outstanding Creativity’ Klay-klay is a creative agency that lives in this world. Klay-klay began as a one-man-show and grew over the years.

“Watching the company grow is my joy. As the company expands, I will continue employing more people and branching out to other countries in Africa” he said. So far Klay-klay has handled close to 200 clients.



James Mwamisi, founded Klay-klay in 2008 as a general design firm. It was a one-man business and he worked from his home. Klay-klay made its first sale within the month it was launched. The client base quickly grew as clients began to realize the unique creativity that Klay-klay had. Klay-klay’s tag line by then was “creativity is better than knowledge”. Creativity was the selling point then.


In 2010, Mwamisi decided to diversify the business and acquired screen printing equipment and gift bag making equipment. Klay-klay rented a workshop with staff of 4. Mwamisi quickly realized that as much as it was connected it was a completely different line of business and it affected the original goal of the company which was creative design. The workshop was shut down in one year and Klay-klay re-launched itself as a brand identity agency.


Klay-klay now formally moved into an office in 2011 with one employee. The services provided were brand identity, web design & development and marketing collateral.


In 2012 Klay-klay staff had grown to 6 and moved into a bigger office. 2012 was more for stabilizing the company, developing the organizational processes, the company policy, the company culture and rituals, the rate card, refining the products and trying and testing these internally and externally with our clients. A lot of tweaks were made to ensure all loopholes were closed.


After all this restructuring, Klay-klay re-launched as a creative agency in 2013. As a creative agency, everything changes. The organizations processes are more detailed, consultation is more intensive, the rates are higher and more attention is given to projects. As a creative agency Klay-klay offers a wider variety of services including, brand identity, web design & development, animation, documentaries and development of ad concepts. Klay-klay’s tag line is now “A World of Outstanding Creativity.




Our biggest challenge has been creating a team. It was very hard to find the right team for Klay-klay, people whose mindset was focused on building the company as opposed to seeing Klay-klay as an addition to your CV. And since I grew the company with barely any capital, I couldn’t afford to hire highly skilled and experienced professionals.  We now have a stable team who are the brains of the company.


Consistent cash flow has been a problem over the years since we worked based on the client and the project. We’d end up sometimes having no revenue for up to 3 months yet we had numerous ongoing projects. This affected our operating costs sometimes forcing us to borrow money to stay afloat.This has since been sorted out with the introduction of processes and systems in the company.

~ The Financial Post