A rare and daring taste in business [Daily Monitor, The (Uganda)]
(Daily Monitor, The (Uganda) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) For some, the sight of a beautiful bridal team will make a good wedding reception. A woman's eye is also most likely to capture the design of the bride's gown. The sound of music and the clarity of the microphones will be the last thing a woman might want to assess, if she ever does at all. That is often a man's territory. It is men who want to fix stuff! Yet, Miriam Kabagenyi Ewange does not only mind the music being played but the sound of that music. "You attend a wedding reception and the music is just not right; the sound is crap. It's disturbing," she says.
Kabagenyi, who believes that for most of the events, it is the sound of music that matters, ventured into a business not many women will. She is the general manager of Rock Electronics Limited that deals in all kinds of music instruments such as speakers, mixers, guitars, keyboards and microphones.
Joining the businessHer husband pitched the idea to her of running a business, their family business. Then, it was a small music instruments stall on Market Street, Kampala. He wanted her to manage it as he concentrated on his formal job. She had graduated from Makerere University with a Bachelors in Science Information Technology.
"He wondered why I would want to seek employment when I could manage our family business," she recounts. Kabagenyi loved music. But with no background in business management, it would take much more than loving music and being a member of the worship team at her church to run a business of selling music instruments. "Honestly it was a challenge," she says smiling. In 2007, she took up the challenge anyway, determined to learn on the job.
Making the most of itKabagenyi subscribes to the philosophy that whatever one's hands find to do, they should give it their best. She literally ran with it. Today, Rock Electronics has grown to three big stores. She is well conversant with the operations of her business as she is able to personally advise her clients on technical aspects of the products she sells. Her management style is "know what you ask your employees to do".
"I want to be hands-on," she says, adding, "I want to be in touch with my business and in close proximity with my clients." Her clients come from as far as Sudan, DR Congo and Rwanda. And, of course, she serves the Ugandan market where, with her team, Kabagenyi will be on the move to schools, churches and other companies marketing and selling her products.
"I love what I do. Music is my passion," she says. Indeed, she goes beyond the ordinary to the specifics of music. "I can tell what good music is and what bad music is. I know where the microphones or monitors should be placed to produce good sound. I have a good ear for sound," she assures.
When motherly duties call...Kabagenyi juggles work as a general manager and mother of four boys. "I wake up at 5.30am to say my prayers as the boys are prepared by the maid. I see them off to school at 6.20am and head to work. At work, first thing is catch up meetings.
Then, I log onto the Internet researching about new products, clients and placing orders with my suppliers in Dubai and China. I do my work and whatever else I have to do and ensure that I get home early.
My boys want me home and I have to find time for my husband. Weekends are also no-work days for me," she explains. This compensates for the two to three weeks she often spends out of the country on business trips.
Relieving the stressGym does not feature on her to-do list. She relies on little things to relieve stress, keep fit and beautiful. "A nap does it for me," she says. "Oh, I love sleep!" she emphasises. In the evening, she joins friends for singing. She also minds what she eats. "I take a lot of juice and eat super early, light stuff – no solid food after 9pm." Being joyful, she says, keeps her young, beautiful and healthy.
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