Bata Kenya and Knight Frank Duel


All work and no play makes workplaces boring. We are not boring at all, here at Bata, so, we play- daily. Sometimes fun games and exercise, inter departmentally and sometimes against anyone who wants to challenge us-corporate teams, community teams and even professional teams.

“Did you know that Bata Kenya has a fully fledged stadium for employees, the Bata Sponsored teams and the community?”

So, last Friday afternoon we decided to go out on a funkie(remember High School?). The destination was Nairobi School on the invite of Knight Frank for a return football match- after we had handed them a 2-0 beating just three weeks earlier and they “wanted to confirm” :)

The game kicked off at 5:00 pm and by half time, Knight Frank was 2-1 up- they were really exerting their revenge, and the noise in their side of the field was literally deafening. In the second half, the scales shifted and Bata Kenya fans were getting audible….thanks to two fast goals within ten minutes of the second period! The result was confirmed twenty minutes later:

Final score: Knight Frank 2: 4 Bata Kenya.

See some of the scenes.

Knight Frank later hosted a big after-party.

Would you like to play the Bata staff team? Come on, challenge us… call us on 0726-668941, Tweet Us or contact us on Facebook.

It’s all for fun!


A Chat With George Thiongo -The Bata Sarit Shop Manager

George Thiongo has worked with Bata for a whooping 14 years, starting out as a casual sales assistant in 2000 and progressing his way to the Manager of one of our biggest stores-no mean feat.

So, what does it take to be a successful store manager, or the team leader? This is what the Bata Kenya Shoe Blog Team sought to know from George.

George Thiongo- Bata Sarit

George Thiongo- Bata Sarit

When did you join Bata and in what position?

I joined Bata in 2005 as a cashier, before I worked as a temporally employee (casual) in Eldoret since the year 2000.

When did you become a manager in a Bata store?

I became a manager in 2006. And have worked in various shops namely Obwaa, Bungoma, Kitale and Kimathi stores.

What are 3 qualities a manager should have in your own opinion?

  1. Good product knowledge.
  2. Be up to date with customers trend and taste.
  3. Interacting with customers, one on one, on the selling floor.

What is the one thing that you remind your staff every morning?

“Great customer service creates loyal customers”

For the period you have worked in Bata, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

My progression-I have grown through the ranks from being a Sales Assistant to my current position facing different challenges on all facets thus I have immense know-how on handling any aspect of sales and business.

What kind of customers/clients do frequent your store?

This is entirely a family store from the youngest kid to the “grandwazees”.

What makes your store stand out from the rest?

We have managed to customize our service to clients to their needs and to their satisfaction thus we convert them to repeat shoppers any time we have new merchandise

What’s the secret to an outstanding store performance?

A wide selection of awesome merchandise to create variety for the different customers, and creating loyal customers.


Mr. T.G Bata’s Visit To Kenya

Mr. T.G Bata, the Bata Shoe Company Group Chairman and grandson to the founder, visited Bata Kenya between 14th and 17th October 2013.

During his visit he commissioned two new machines in the factory and held several interactive sessions with different groups in the organization including young talent in the company , store staff and frontline managers who shared with him their experiences , challenges and objectives. On his part , Mr. Bata shared with them the Group vision of the company in line with people development, and encouraged them to work smart for success. Further he talked about the opportunities that abound especially in the the digital arena and offered suggestions on how the company can seize such opportunities.

A store visit to several Nairobi shops and a press interview with leading media , concluded his visit.

Check out some of the photos :

Meet John Kabucho – Bata Rongai Destination Shop Manager

John Kabucho is known to his staff as a firm result-oriented leader ; who is on the other hand , easy going and friendly. Having joined Bata 7 years ago , John has through the years ,  risen from a sales assistant to become a shop manager. Currently he is charged with managing our Diaspora Rongai Destination Shop, which is on your way to Kiserian. He shares with the Bata Kenya Shoe Blog team , a bit about how his experience working with the company has been…

John Kabucho- Rongai Destination Manager

John Kabucho- Rongai Destination Manager

How long have you worked with Bata ?

  • I have worked with Bata for the last 7 years, since 2006 having joined as a sales assistant in Nakuru.

Which of your achievements while working with Bata are you most proud of?

  • Having managed to turn around Bata Mwea from an average shop to a top store as its manager, was great! We achieved this as a team by extending business hours, building Customer loyalty and holding correct Merchandise season to season.

What steps have you been taking to sustain the performance of your current store?

  • Holding the right Merchandise (and in sufficient quantities) has been key for us.
  • Keeping a close contact with our institutional customers, as well as loyal individual customers.
  • Constantly training my team on a variety of retail operations from store management to customer relationship.

What can you consider as your major gain during your time at Bata?

  • I have learnt a lot about People Management, running and managing a business entity and customer care during my time. I am a better person, professionally and individually.


Through the Years : Bata Kenya’s Timeline

Bata Shoe Company was registered in Zlin, Czech Republic in 1894 by siblings Tomas, Anna and Antonin Bata as T. & A. Bata Shoe Company. In 1895 Antonin left the company to  join the army and Anna got married, leaving Tomas Bata to manage the company alone…
Tomas saw the company grow in leaps and bounds until he passed on in a plane crash in 1932. But the business entity he had founded lived on. Under the leadership of his son Thomas J Bata (Tomas Bata Jr) , who was only 17 at the time of his father’s death , Bata continued to spread it’s wings to the world….
Coming to Kenya

Employees leaving Limuru factory (19 80′s )

1933 – 1934, A group of Bata employees come to Kenya  from  Europe and started buying hides for the factory in Czechoslovakia.

1935 - Bata Shoe Company Kenya (K) Ltd,  under the name East African Bata Shoe Company is established in Mombasa to import Shoes from Zlin and sell in the local Market

1938 - A small  soap factory building is hired in Mombasa and the  production  of rubber and canvas footwear started.

1940 - The factory moves to its current location in the pleasant green highlands of Limuru.

1965 – The Boots that Say you Know Africa – Safari boots start being produced. Safari has since grown in leaps and bounds.

1970 - Bata East Africa Shoe Company Ltd changes its name to Bata Shoe Company (Kenya) Ltd.

1975 - Bata Kenya opens a full fledged tannery, enabling it make leather shoes from scratch. Previously, leather was imported.

1983 - Bata Kenya opens its first wholly owned store, Bata Nairobi Two ( Bata Hilton) , paving the way for company owned stores. Previously, Bata was running only franchises and dealerships.

2002 - The company comes up with the ‘new arrivals every week’ strategy. To date, you will find a new shoe every week in Bata stores.

2012 - Bata Home , the online selling and home delivery service is officially launched.

Now - Bata Kenya has grown to a network of 130 stores countrywide, with several dealer outlets and supplying the East African region.

ALSO READ: Bata Culture | 29 Random things about Bata

Meet Julius Githaiga – Bata Hilton Shop Manager

Serving over 5000 customers in a week , Bata Nairobi II commonly referred to as Bata Hilton due to it’s location , is a busy shop. Bata Kenya Shoe Blog team , recently took a moment to speak to the hands-on and ever-helpful Mr. Julius Githaiga who manages this shop. Julius will often be found at the cashier’s place doing the actual selling or at the shop floor mingling with customers. ”I like to practise MBWA so that I get to interact with my staff and also customers” , he says referring to his management by walking around management style.

Manager Bata Hilton Kenya

Julius Githaiga- Shop manager Bata Hilton

When did you join Bata and in what position did you join?

  • I joined Bata in 1998 as a Sales Assistant, and got promoted to Store Manager in 2001. I have been a manager in this shop since 2007.

What are 3 key skills/ qualities that in your opinion , a store manager should have?

  • One needs to be a good planner because you will be called upon to manage various resources efficiently to achieve results.
  • One needs constantly review customer suggestions , opinions and market trends.
  • It is important to practice MBWA to ensure constant interaction with staff and customers.

What do you take as a lesson learnt as a Store Manager?

  • Being Store Manager means you are the one in charge of the shop as a whole business unit. You are not only in charge of sales but all that appertains the shop , like stock controls , human resource and customer service. This calls for , and horns your entrepreneurial skills.

What do you remind your staff every morning?

  • To always say hello to the customer , really listen to what the customer wants and offer them options.

What is it in your career at Bata that you are most proud of?

  • Seeing staff who have previously worked under my guidance become  able and  capable Store Managers in-charge of key stores in our Bata retail portfolio is fulfilling.

Mr. O.J Looks Back At His 34 Year Career With Bata

"When you wake up to go work , do the work set out before you , and finish... because that is why you woke up". ~ Wilson Ojwando

One of the famous quotes by Bata founder Tomas Bata is “Honor the work”. This has been ingrained in the work culture of all Bata companies in the world to this day. For 34 years Mr. Wilson Ojwando , fondly referred to by colleagues as “Mr. O.J” has lived these words. In fact , as if to summarize his long and fulfilling career with Bata, Wilson said that what has always driven him is the belief that “you should take your daily work as your own.” The last week of May was his last week in Bata  but even though he has left, he is going to be running his own Bata shop, as a franchisee, in Awendo, Western Kenya.

Until May , Mr.OJ. was working as a Merchandiser , in charge of accessories ( socks , bags , belts , handbags , shoe polishes……..). Asked to comment about him , Merchandising Manager Mr. Paul Muraya says : “Wilson is a very organized person who showed a lot of commitment to his work. The accessories range has grown exponentially and now contributes substantially to the total business.”

The Bata Kenya Shoe Blog Team asked Wilson a few questions about his career and future plans.

When did you join Bata and what was your first job in Bata?

“I  joined Bata in Feb, 1979 and was confirmed as a permanent employee on 15th May the, same year. My first job was in leather department , in moccasin stitching.”

What change(s) in the company would you say made a big difference in growing the business?

“In the late 90’s when second hand shoes and cheap imports started coming into the country, we were not doing so well. But then, in the year 2002 , the company’s new management came up with a ‘new arrivals every week’ strategy. This ensured a wider collection of merchandise and we also started opening new stores and expanding.”

Most young people these days are hopping from employer to employer within a short time. Given your experience what would you advise them?

Rome was not built in one day… tolerant , and always keep learning. Ambition is good but do not be over ambitious”.

What have you liked / enjoyed most about working with Bata?

I have worked with great colleagues most of whom have become my long time friends. I started and raised my family , while working with Bata so I have many memories. What I have liked most in Bata is that you keep learning new ideas and ways of doing things. Also , my entrepreneurial skills have polished…….I am now going to run my own business!”

Tell us about your future venture – The Bata Franchise shop 

“The shop will open officially on June 21st 2013. I will now dedicate all my strength and time here.”

We have no doubt that Mr. O.J’s venture is going to be a success, having committed most of his adult life working (and so very diligently) in the shoe business. A festive going away party was held for Mr. O.J. on the evening of Friday 31st May 2013. It was attended by Bata Kenya Company Manager Mr. Alberto Errico, Human Resources Manager Mr. Peter Giathi and other Bata Kenya staff with each department represented.

We wish him all the best!

Remembering Ricardo : Tribute to Richard Ngumwa

The late Richard Ngumwa

We called him Ricardo. Or simply Richie. He was young, friendly and full of life. Fun to work with, he loved to laugh and he loved his job.

Now, he is gone.

Exactly a week ago Richard Ngumwa was picked from our midst following a road accident.

He was on his way to work that fateful morning. The matatu he was traveling in hit a lorry.

And Richie was no more. What shock! What disbelief!

As we mourn the passing on of our colleague and friend, we the Bata Kenya family celebrate the time he spent with us, and continue praying for God’s consolation to his family.

The interior view of Bata Taj Mall, Embakasi ; Photo by Richard Ngumwa

Fare thee well Richie. You will be missed.

29 Random Things About Bata

To celebrate this year’s leap day we went and got you 29 random things about Bata. Some are things you know , while others will surprise or inform you.
Read along…
  1. Bata Shoe Company was registered in 1894 by three siblings : Tomas, Anna and Antonin Bata, in Zlin, Czechoslovakia (now known as The Czech republic).
  2. In 1895 Antonin left the company to join the army and Anna got married, leaving, Tomáš Bata to manage the company alone.
  3. In 1932 Tomáš died in a plane crash at the age of 56 at the Zlín Airport while attempting to take off under bad weather conditions.
  4. Tomáš Bata has a Universiy in Zlin named after him, “in recognition of the outstanding role he played in the transformation of the life and inhabitants of the town of Zlín as well as the whole Czech Republic and its economy. “
  5. It was the founder, Tomáš’ ,son Thomas J. Bata who grew the organization significantly making it an international company and earning himself the title shoemaker to the world.
  6. Thomas J. Bata passed on in 2008, at the age of 93.
  7. It was Thomas J. Bata’s wife and business partner who founded the Bata shoe Museum, in Toronto , Canada.
  8. Bata is in present in 5 continents.
  9. Bata runs 27 production facilities across 20 countries.

    Monica Pignal Bata , grand daughter to Bata founder, speaks with Production manager Michael Rutto , during a recent visit to the Limuru factory

  10. Bata operates in over 70 countries
  11. Bata has over 5000 stores worldwide.
  12. Bata employs over 50,000 employees worldwide.
  13. Bata serves over 1 million customers everyday, worldwide.
  14. Bata has over 20 in-house brands including the Safari boot which has remained a best seller throughout the decades .
  15. There is a Bata nursery school in Limuru where children of Bata employees attend free of charge.
  16. The Bata Children’s program was launched in 2010 to be the umbrella body under which Bata CSR activities are carried out.
  17. Bata came to Kenya in 1939 and set up a plant at Limuru. The Limuru factory has grown over the years and currently has the capacity to produce 60000 pairs of shoes in a day.
  18. Bata Kenya has 111 retail outlets.
  19. All over the world, Bata stores are classified into four i.e. FlagshipCityFamily and Factory outlets and all have the exact store design irrespective of the country they are located.
  20. Bata sizes are in English (UK)scale.
  21. You get a 15% discount when you buy shoes at the Bata shop in Limuru.
  22. Bata Kenya is one of the 15 Bata countries who sell shoes online. Our online shop which targets customers outside Kenya, has sold hundreds of shoes since 2005 when it was opened.
  23. Bata gift vouchers are available in 4 denominations 300,500,1000 and 2000 and they can be redeemed in any Bata retail shop in the country.
  24. Bata International headquarters are currently located in Lausanne ,Switzerland.
  25. Thomas G. Bata, who is Tomáš Bata’s grandson, is the reigning Chairman of Bata Shoe Company.
  26. Bata’s strength lies in its worldwide presence. While local companies are self-governing, each one benefits from its link to the international organization for back-office systems, product innovations and sourcing.
  27. Bata operations in the world are managed through four commercial Business Units (CBUs). Of the four , Bata Kenya lies under Bata Emerging Markets.
  28. Bata Kenya , sells on average, 30million pairs of shoes in a year.
  29. Thomas J. Bata is said to have fired a salesman who was sent to Africa and came back with the gloomy assessment that there was no market for shoes in Africa, as everyone walked barefoot!

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