KENYA: Ruuj Caflon a University of Nairobi (UoN) graduate is the founder of Caflon design, a company that designs clothes that can charge phones and produce lights.
He was taking an electrical engineering degree at Kenyatta University, then left for UoN where he graduated.
One evening as he was doing assignments and revising for exams due the following day, there was a blackout on campus that lasted the whole night.
According to Kenyans.co.ke,the blackouts were rampant but this one hindered him from completing the assignment. That was when the idea was birthed. He did solar wiring on one of his jackets to cater for that day.
“The beauty of ideas is that they are not complete at first, they are built on overtime. So for that day, I made one for myself. But with time, solar emerged, charging phones, and with that, I was able to build on my idea,” Caflon recalled.
After a couple of days, he pitched the idea to a couple of his friends who dismissed it as they could not make sense of it. Later, they thought it through and decided to actualise it
“At first when he pitched the idea, we didn’t take him seriously as we could not wrap our heads around how a cloth can emit light,” said Eunice Maina, the marketing manager at Caflon designs.
They import materials to make the clothes, their designer comes up with the design, cuts it out, and then they do the wiring to the jackets.
The jackets are designed in a way that the power system is attached inside the hood and covered with a peel-off seal that can be removed and replaced easily. It requires very little power and does not need to be connected to a source of electricity.
The system is connected with a cable for convenience while charging the phone and on the move. The seal is waterproof thus when it rains, it’s not affected. It is easy to clean as you can remove the power system and return it with ease.
“We have developed the design and are seeking to add a fan to the jacket that regulates heat when it gets too hot,” added Caflon
Currently, one jacket goes for Ksh 2,000 and can be purchased online via their platforms. They also do door-to-door deliveries. They also make pants and shirts for the kids.
“The outfits can be worn by motorcyclists, people going camping, long-distance commuters and they will still look amazing,” stated Maina
The venture however is now without challenges. “Our biggest challenge is convincing people that the clothes will not shock them since we have a tendency to reject new things. The other challenge is sourcing the materials that we import,” added Maina.
The company has made major sales especially to artists including Davido, a Nigerian-American singer, Kaligraph jones, a Kenyan hip hop artist, and Eddy Kenzo a Ugandan singer among others.
The company is targeting a larger population across Africa and internationally to aid even the people in rural areas without electricity connections.