Turtle neck

Hunt like a hungry lioness: A miniseries on Craft It about Nairobi’s creatives

Laura Lwala has the psyche of the girl next door, the one you grew up with. She’s modest, chatty and has great eye contact. We’ve just sat down and she already makes a joke about how outdated her glasses are. We laugh like old friends. I love it when folk reach for self-deprecating humour.

Laura makes brass jewellery by hand. (She’s has two rings on each and dangly earrings. I’ll later see an almost similar pair of earrings up for sale on her Instagram page.) She makes them at home, herself. One can’t tell by looking at her fingers – short, chubby, matted red polish – that she’s manipulated brass wire with jewellery pliers and wire cutters since before ‘Black-ish’ aired its pilot.

There’s something very African, very homegrown, very familiar and very simple about Laura’s jewellery. I don’t feel that I have to be a cultured uppity urbanite to wear it. It’s everyday jewellery for the everyday girl, the occasion being that there’s no occasion. This says plenty about the values the brand and Laura herself embody. My little sister – Winnie – is one of her old-time clients. She’s been wearing Pryde Artz jewellery since she was a sophomore in campus. Her last splurge was on these hair accessories she bangles around strands of her braids.

Laura and I chat over sweetened dawas in the hubbub of Java K Street. The weather today is as moody as an adolescent teen. One minute it’s sunny and peachy, the next it’s gray and pouty, threatening to crack the sky open in the outburst of a drizzle.

This is Laura’s story. 



I was invited to the New York Fashion Week to showcase my products on the runway. My first thought when I received the email is that, this is a scam. Surely, New York Fashion Week? Showcase my products? On their runway? No way. The email said I’d been selected from over 4,000 people across the world. I believed it wasn’t a scam when they sent me the itinerary. Here, let me show it to you. I had to take care of my own ticket and accommodation and everything else. I would have loved to go but I couldn’t. I didn’t have any extra money for the trip.

I’m a math geek. I wanted an undergrad in pure math but my Dad asked me what I’d do with the degree, lecture? I did actuarial at JKUAT.

Two of my biggest influencers, or is it brand ambassadors, have been Sheila Ndinda, the natural-hair YouTuber, and Talia Oyanda, the one and only Talia Oyando. Even This Is Ess has given us a lot of support. They’d order their jewellery and pay for it – like regular customers – then they’d tag me on Instagram when they’d worn the pieces. I didn’t even have to ask them to tag me. Imagine that. I think they’re just really good people. I’d get several orders after their tags. They helped me grow my brand.

I don’t know what Twitter wants. I can’t seem to grow my following on Twitter, not even on my personal profile. I have a following on Facebook and Instagram. I started out on Facebook. My page back then was called ‘Pride Designs’ and people always confused it for the LGBTQ Pride group. I’d get inboxes asking, ‘Are you part of the Pride community?’ I changed the page name to Pryde Artz. Because everything is art. I don’t get too many orders from Facebook – I’ll post a picture and people will like it and say, ‘Oh, that’s nice’. Post the same picture to Instagram and I get several orders and inquiries.

I ran this fish caging side-hustle that made me broke. It’s fish farming but the fish are kept in cage inside Lake Victoria. I farmed tilapia. I went into the business with my Uncle, we sank in about 300 gees. I’d send the caretaker two gees every week for food for the fish. I didn’t know a lot of what was happening there. There was also a lot theft, someone would go into the cage at night, cut the cage and steal some fish, all the others would swim away.

My day job is in insurance, I advise people how to invest for retirement. I talk to people every day. Before I met you here, I was talking to a client about his fund statement. He’s in his mid 30s. He just wanted to know how much he’d saved. We get that a lot. I tell my friends to start saving for retirement early. Retirement will come. I advise my clients to share pension money equally to their kids, because money can create bad blood amongst siblings. I haven’t heard of anyone [in my portfolio] who’s killed someone else for insurance money.

There are rules to wearing jewellery. It has to match with what you’re wearing. Like this [red] turtle neck I’m wearing goes well with these long dangly earrings. Your blouse is a bit fancy with the frills and large buttons, it matches those simple gold loops. Let me show you some of the custom jewellery I’ve made for Sheila and Talia to wear to events.

I make a mean meat stew. Actually I can make a feast out of anything in my kitchen. I live alone. I cook myself a meal daily. I don’t know what I’ll cook tonight.

I’m catching ‘Game of Thrones’ a second time, I catch it while I do my wire work. The series finale is coming next year, I don’t want to have forgotten anything. I love the short guy the most. Tyrion Lannister. He’s a dwarf but he’s very smart. Knows how to strategize. He says he can’t go to battle but he can outsmart you with his wits.  My favourite line from Tyrion, I can’t quote it word for word but it goes something like, Armour yourself with your weakness and it will never be used to hurt you.

I started in this craft by hand-making cards. Greeting cards and birthday cards. I used Maasai beads on the cards. Then I joined the shambhalas craze. Made those for a while. One day I was in River Road buying beads for my cards, I bought them from this place called CottBeads, so I’m getting the beads and I see a roll of wire. I asked what it is. They told me it’s brass wire. I asked what it’s for. They told me it’s used for making jewellery. I bought a small roll that day. I didn’t know what to do with it so I went on YouTube to teach myself how to make the jewellery – rings, earrings, bracelets. I didn’t go back to making cards after that. The wire jewellery made for better business anyway – it’d take me two hours to make one card I’d sell for 200 bob; now it takes me 30 minutes to make a ring with an intricate design, 15 minutes for something much simpler, yet I get twice as much what I was getting from the cards.

My little sister doesn’t pay for her jewellery. When she comes over to my house, she sees what I have and takes it. Ha-ha. I guess that’s what little sisters are for. My Mum also rocks my jewellery.

I’m back to school again. They made it mandatory for anyone in insurance to have a diploma in insurance. I’m in class three evenings a week, Tuesday to Friday, 5.30 to 7.30 p.m. School is in South C. I read schoolbooks before bed and on the weekends and when I’m not hanging with my boyfriend.

Here’s something you didn’t know about insurance: Did you know that pension money supersedes a will? Did you also know that when you hit 40, you can buy an insurance product which pays you a salary for the rest of your life, until death? It’s called an annuity. For instance, if you’ve saved 500K in your retirement fund, you’ll get paid around 4K until death. A good amount saved is at least 4 mili, so you’ll get paid 30K a month.

I’ve been told ‘fuck you’ on phone more times than you have. My first job after campus was as a debt collector for a bank on Ngong Road. A microfinance. They lent money to small businesses and to start-ups. My job was to sit at my desk all day and call defaulters asking for our money back. I didn’t even get up to go for lunch. I was given a phone with unlimited airtime. Then I’d call. And call. And call. Off the hook. My daily target was to recover 10 mili. I think I hit that target once or twice.

Natural lines
Rolling Stones

Comments (2)

  1. Brenda

    Update me on new content.

    • Bett

      Hey, Brenda. Subscribe to the blog so you can get an email notification whenever we put up a new post.

      The subscribe button is to your right (if you’re reading this on your laptop) or to the bottom of the screen (if you’re reading on your phone).

      Karibu sana.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our content

Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.