Kendi finds her life calling preserving beauty of blooms up to 2 years


Kendi calls it life to maintain the beauty of flowers for up to two years.

Kendi Kamanja Oketch during an interview at her company’s office in Kikuyu on January 30, 2023. Photo | Diana Gira | NMG

Preserved flowers are becoming more of an interior choice than fresh flowers. Florist Kendy Kamanja pushes the boundaries of beautiful bouquets of dried flowers.

We met at her factory in Kikuyu. It’s full of workers drying flowers, unloading freshly cut roses from Eldoret, and preparing a wall of flowers for a photo shoot. The walls are decorated with colorful hydrangea preserved flowers.

“This is my mission. Nothing makes me happier than working with flowers. My purpose in life is to try out different ideas and see what comes out of them,” she says. Preserving company Kendily Petals tells BDLife.

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Nine years ago, Kamanja quit her job to pursue her first love, Hana. However, it took years to commercialize it.

BDL Kendia

Kendi Kamanja Oketch during an interview at her company’s office in Kikuyu on January 30, 2023. Photo | Diana Gira | NMG

“I grew up in a house full of Meru flowers.

After extensive research, contracting chemical engineers, and sorting out the facts, she decided to start her dried flower business in September 2022.

why did it take so long?

“This is not readily available information,” she says.

She bought a water bath and dryer from her savings of one million shillings and rushed over. Had she waited to get all her 15 million shillings needed to establish a more automated business operation, it would have taken an eternity for her dream to come true, she said. say.

So how do you store freshly cut flowers?

“Flowers are preserved using five different chemicals,” she says.

It usually takes about 5 days to complete the preservation stage.

The first process of preservation is the dehydration stage where chemicals suck all the moisture and color out of the flowers. This will take him a day or two.


Kendi Kamanja Oketch during an interview at her company’s office in Kikuyu on January 30, 2023. Photo | Diana Gira | NMG

The next stage is the stabilization stage, which “replenishes the moisture removed from the flowers.” Place the flowers in a water bath for about 4 hours to fix the process.

“The third step is to condition the flowers so they don’t lose their shape and feel by trapping moisture,” says Kamanja.

This is also the point at which Kendi Lee’s petals are infused with dyes and perfumes to restore their color, preserve their natural scent, and make them look just like nature.

“Any color, you can get it,” she says.

Finally, leave it overnight in a dryer around 60 degrees to dry it. “You need fans to keep the air circulating and sand to retain the heat,” she adds.

When we arrive, we find that our weekly delivery of rose flowers has arrived. “We signed up with Eldoret farmers,” she says.

Sh60,000 Bouquet

Any flower is difficult to save. Kamanja says that Orphyra flowers should be pretty, as they are suitable for preserving buds and petals.

Which flowers does Kendily Petals store?

“We store different types of flowers such as Hydrangea, Cyperus, Lily, Rose, Carnation, Soft Leaves, Limonia, Silver Dollar Eucalyptus, Bunny Tail, Solidago. Available in Kenya.

With bouquets priced between Sh7,500 and Sh60,000, depending on the type and size of the flower arrangement, she decided to produce them on demand.


Kendi Kamanja Oketch during an interview at her company’s office in Kikuyu on January 30, 2023. Photo | Diana Gira | NMG

She says that people tend to avoid preserved flowers because they are expensive. But dried flowers have their merits. “I like the fact that I don’t have to keep buying fresh flowers all the time,” she says.

Currently, only 100 flowers can be processed at a time. “We are still very manual. A good machine is about 9 million shillings and we can recycle chemicals and reduce processing costs,” she tells her BDLife.

Roses are the most expensive to keep, but they are the best to keep.

For other flowers, Kamanja says they don’t have to go through all the steps and don’t need machines.

read: How to care for fresh flowers

“For hydrangeas, you can only use the machine when you want to get bleached flowers,” she says.

The chemicals used in the machine are also expensive. It costs 150 shillings to store a single rose flower, which is expensive, especially if the customer wants a large bouquet.

“But roses are the best flowers to store. They are there for a long time and people appreciate them. Make it adorable,” she says.

Using dried flowers instead of fresh flowers allows homeowners and designers to bring nature into the room.

The demand for preserved flowers is driven by people who love flowers but do not want to replace or care for fresh flowers frequently.

Preserved flowers have a lifespan of 2 years, saving you the hassle of constantly buying fresh flowers to decorate your home or office.

“If you don’t like plastic flowers, preserved flowers are a great option,” she says, adding that the trick is to keep them out of direct sunlight, away from moisture, and dusting them occasionally.

Her biggest challenge is that the flowers must be in the open-cut stage in order to be preserved.

“This means we have to wait a week for the flowers to arrive. The preparation process at the factory also takes time, which delays delivery by a week or more,” she said. say.

Fluctuating chemical costs also bring sleepless nights to florists.

“The few people who have chemicals will raise the price if they aren’t readily available,” she says.

“I see so much potential,” she says, adding that her target markets include hotels, offices, parties and celebrations. He added that it would include people who hold meetings.

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