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Lifestyle Jackline Cherop's journey from the foothills of Mt. Elgon to the top of tours and travel world

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Located in the pristine and lush Village Market Densey Tours and Travel has made a name for herself in the little time it has been operational.

play Jackline Cherop (courtesy)

 

  • Jackline was not any ordinary girl and her Grandmother who had raised her from the age of three months after her mother sadly passed away would never allow her to give up and be another statistics’ in Sabaot’s civil unions after all she didn’t raise a quitter and she wasn’t going to start tolerating one.
  • From two employees Densey tours and travel has slowly grown to now having twelve full time employees and in a good year the company makes  more than Sh200 million ($2 million).
  • Densey Tours and Travel company handles both corporate and leisure travel requirements but over the years has grown in strength and cut a niche for herself more in the corporate world than leisure travels.

Growing up in the foothills of Mt. Elgon in a remote village Jackline Cherop never envisioned in her wildest dreams that one day she will be running her own company and be a force to be reckoned with in the multi-billion dollar tours and travel industry.

Being the last born in a family of six and coming from one of the most conservatives communities – the Sabaot- it was easier for her to just give up and accept her fate and get married and forget it all, her humble background didn’t help matters and could as well be the drive, everybody would understand right? what was a poor girl to do in a big bad world she can as well get  life security and hold onto one thing thousands of girls before her had done and would continue to do.

Of course I never thought one day I will have my own company, I come from one of the smallest communities in Kenya which I am certain most people have never even heard of it, the Sabaot from Mt Elgon,” Jackline told Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa.

play Mt. Elgon. (courtesy)

 

But Jackline was not any ordinary girl and her Grandmother who had raised her from the age of three months after her mother sadly passed away would never allow her to give up and be another statistics’ in Sabaot’s civil unions after all she didn’t raise a quitter and she wasn’t going to start tolerating one.

Considering the environment I grew up in all these were just dreams I come from a community which holds culture very close to their hearts like the Maasai so it was not really a visible thing to say one day I will start my own company and be a director,”  Said Cherop.

So Cherop would fill her days trekking hundreds of miles to fetch water and firewood, lost in her own little world and consumed with the anxiety of wondering where her next meal would come from, it was a hard life of hand to mouth.

play Jackline Cherop is the managing director of Densey Tours and Travel company. (courtesy)

 

“Growing up life was very hard you were never sure when you would get your next meal, I used to walk to school about 3km every day and then back and during lunch time I would come back home and if there were no food I would just stay like that and trek back to school so life was not easy,”

So what kept her going, why didn’t she just give up and tap out?

It was just the daily encouragement from my Grandmother and my brothers of work hard you don’t know where hard work will lead you one day,"

play Jackline Cherop is the managing director of Densey Tours and Travel company. (courtesy)

And work hard she did, in fact, she did more than just working hard she worked smart too and 32 years down the line she ended up in the lucrative multi-billion hospitality industry running her own tours and travel company called Densey Tours and Travel.  She is the founder and the managing director of Densey Tours and Travel company.

“Densey was founded in 2013 but we started full operations in 2014 and we have been in business for four years now,”  Said Cherop.

Located in the pristine and lush Village Market, Densey Tours and Travel has made a name for herself in the little time it has been operational and you would be hard-pressed to miss their smartly decorated office awash with green and yellow colours with black leather coaches strewn about.

Also read: Here are 69 beautiful countries Kenyans can travel to Visa free or simply get a Visa on arrival

play Jackline Cherop (courtesy)

 

Densey Tours and Travel company handles both corporate and leisure travel requirements but over the years has grown in strength and cut a niche for herself more in the corporate world than leisure travels.

Taking a look at Jackline one may easily but do it at your own peril she knows what she is taking about and she is an old hand in the tours and travel industry world.

“I have worked in the tours and travel industry for over ten years and there were really nothing anymore that was challenging me and I was getting de-motivated every day,  you know when you are in a space for over 10 years and occupied all the positions in that company where do you go next? From the management where do you go next? Even if you change companies it is the same positions and you are just moving horizontally so I told myself I have been here for more than 10 years I have  the skills set why don’t you start your own company,”  Said Cherop.

play Jackline Cherop (courtesy)

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So in 2014 armed with only passion, 10 years’ plus experience and an old laptop she dived in into the world of entrepreneurship head first.

What drove me to start Densey was the fact that it was something I had done already and I had the skills set so I didn’t have to go back to school or employ someone to run it for me and you see for a startup company it really needs someone who knows what they are doing before you employ someone

I actually didn’t invest a lot of money in it since I had worked in the industry for over ten years and I already knew how it operates and had the machinery so when I quit my job I didn’t have an office and used to work from home i only needed a laptop to run the business so yeah I didn’t require any capital as opposed to now of course,”

play Jackline Cherop is the managing director of Densey Tours and Travel company. (courtesy)

 

It wasn’t all smooth sailing of course and after giving up security for the unpredictability of entrepreneurship she started wondering if she had made the right choice at all.

“In fact the first time I quit my job and said let me start Densey one year along the line I actually gave up, I started questioning whether I had really made the right choice and when  another job opportunity came by I took it because I was very uncertain about the future and I did it for about nine months but every day of that nine months I was miserable  and I told myself this is not just working and I quit fully and embarked fully on this journey and  this is where I am now,”

By 2015, Densey tours and travel was beginning to show signs of profitability and Cherop was joined by one of her colleague and together worked towards making a name for Densey.

“Between 2015/16 that is when Densey started taking off, that is when too when my other director called John joined me and both of us now resigned from our work and went fully into the business,”  Said Cherop.

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play Jackline Cherop and her family at a past vacation. (courtesy)

She reveals that there is actually more to Densey tours and travel name than what meets the eye.

Yes there is, Densey is a combination of  two names you see when you are coming up with  a name you have to have a unique name so Densey is a combination of two names which is Linsey and Jayden, Linsey is my daughter’s name and Jayden is one of the directors son,”

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play Jackline Cherop and her family at a past vacation. (courtesy)

From two employees Densey tours and travel has slowly grown to now having twelve full time employees and in a good year the company makes  more than Sh200 million ($2 million).

“I think starting this company was one of my best decisions I have ever made, you see when you are doing something that you love it even affects your personal life, sometimes it is not even about money but the satisfaction of what you are doing, that is what matters at the end of the day,”

It has not been a walk in the park however, and cut throat competition from established firms to new firms popping up every other day continues to be a challenge but Cherop wouldn’t trade her life now for the world.

There are so many competitors in this tours and travel space but I always say competition should never be a challenge it is actually a positive thing and means more young people are coming up and customers’ are growing, people are traveling so it’s really a positive thing,”  Said Cherop.

play Densey Tours and Travel (courtesy)

 

Densey tours and travel prides itself for offering a varied range of travel products which includes a choice of more than 150 airlines and over 65,000 hotels, holiday packages, car rentals and travel insurance but more importantly its young team of dedicated staff who are always ahead of trends are its biggest invaluable asset.

“I think what is unique about  us is probably our staff and how we do things, all of us are involved in the company from the director to  the intern we all work equally in building the company, we also try to employ young guys majority of our employees are young and know customer trends and products as well as  can work flexibly anytime but we also make sure everyone is qualified and we have a limit of which schools we can recruit our employees, I think that is what has helped over the years, investing in our staff,”

In the next five years, Jackline says she is excited about what Densey tours and travel has in store and she will be pressing the gas pedal even further.

“In the next five years we want Densey Tours and Travel to be a name to be reckon with in the corporate  world as well as the leisure circles, we want Densey tours and travel to be on everyone lips,”  Said Cherop.

play Jackline Cherop is the managing director of Densey Tours and Travel company. (courtesy)