Looking East: 5 Reasons Why Vlisco Should Venture the East African Market


Vlisco is a giant in West Africa, there is no doubt about it.  Even though the fabric does eventually make its way to Kenya, the market share is pretty small. And if you asked a regular Kenyan what Vlisco is, chances are they wouldn’t have the fainted idea what you were talking about. I however, think it is time for Vlisco to take the plunge and head east. Below are 5 reasons why:


  1. Taste shifts

Over the years there has been a steady shift towards the Afrocentric style. Before the 2010s wearing an African print outfit to the office would have been unheard of, but now, thanks to modernization of the patterns and change of mindset, it is common to see an Ankara blazer or Kitenge skirt in a Nairobi office without much hullabaloo.

Young people are embracing the bold Vlisco print and making it their own. Added as an accent piece or a bold statement, Vlisco prints are popping up on the scene and showing no signs of stopping!

  1. Rise of the middle class

Kenya has been the region’s economic and cultural hub for decades. Many are employed and contributing members of society with enormous purchasing power. An easy way to gauge the expansion of the middle class is the sudden increase of trendy upmarket eateries and malls all over Kenya. This, if nothing else, should be a good reason to set up shop.

  1. Mobile money

M-pesa  is the benchmark for mobile money and mobile banking in the financial world and Kenya is its birth place. What this means is that there is very little hindrance when it comes to commerce. Mobile money use is wide spread, readily available with a few clicks on your phone and is universally accepted.

  1. Open borders of the East African Community

The East African community was established to promote trade and travel within the East African countries. The idea is that it would be easy to penetrate markets further to include countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Sudan.

  1. Talent pool/Tech hub/ Silicon Savanna

Known as the Silicon Savanna, Nairobi has grown to become the region’s tech hub. The city attracts the ambitious and promising go-getters from different countries in the region. There is a rich pool of talented and qualified individuals ready to work.


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