wandia Gichuru co-founded the company,Vivo Active Wear with Anne Marie Burugu and is currently the managing director of the company. She was also a judge at the KCB Lions Den


Wandia Gichuru was born in Canada. She was born to a Canadian mother and a Kenyan father. She was the only girl and the second born among two other siblings


She studied at Kilimanjaro Primary School and later joined Loreto Convent Msongari High School. She then joined the University of Western Ontario where she graduated with a degree in Economics . She also holds a masters degree in Business Administration from The University of Cape Town in 1996


Wandia Gichuru has over 15 years’ experience in international assistance gained at DFID (the British Government Department of International Development) and the World Bank. She has expertise in strategy development and policy analysis, institutional analysis and Capacity Building, public sector management, aid effectiveness and harmonization and program management, monitoring and evaluation.

Wandia Gichuru has 10 years as a governance adviser with the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). She held policy roles for DFID in London, the United Nations in New York, and worked on long-term assignments in Kenya, Uganda and in Sudan, where she provided advice on bilateral and multilateral projects designed to strengthen the accountability, transparency and efficiency of governance systems. Previously, she worked at the World Bank, City Bank and Kenya Wildlife Services in Kenya. She currently runs a coaching and consulting practice in Nairobi, Kenya


Born in Canada to a Canadian mother and a Kenyan father (deceased), Wandia is the only girl among her three siblings


Wandia is a mother to two daughters, 12-year-old Minke and 9-year-old Saskia. She is separated from the father of her children and says of him, “He is a good father and he loves his girls to bits.”

She acknowledges that being self-employed gives her freedom to be more available for her daughters, not because she works less hours, but because she has the liberty to schedule her time better. She says her daughters are two very different individuals with unique personalities and therefore she treats them ways that best respond to their different characters. Wandia explains that she is more concerned about her daughters gaining life skills such as being team players, compassionate, standing up for what they believe in and having the courage to do the things that scare them – rather than simply being ‘A’ students.


When the company started in 2011, they were inspired by a love for dance and fitness. But over time Vivo Wear has grown to offer a full range of clothing styles that include both smart and casual, party, travel and beachwear. It’s a small company of about 35 staff in total, with five shops all over Nairobi (the sixth is about to open) and a turnover of Sh80 million last year.

Whereas they started off by importing clothes, they now design and manufacture their own designs. Before venturing into fashion, Wandia spent over 15 years as international development adviser and held positions with the UK government, the UN and the World Bank in several different countries.


wandia gichuru: You are from mixed race, is that right?

Yes, my mom is Canadian and dad was Kenyan. He passed on a long time ago. I grew up here. Which side do I relate with most? Kenyan, 100 per cent! I went to university in Canada but never felt Canadian. I always felt Kenyan.

Where does this whole fashion sense come from?

wandia gichuru : What fashion sense? I don’t have a fashion sense at all. (Laughs) I have always loved clothes, yes, but I had never imagined myself getting into fashion design, you know what I mean? This is something that just happened quickly but with a lot of nurturing.

What are you struggling with right now?

In my life? (Thinks) Uhm… (Thinks) I’m struggling to find what I’m struggling with. (Laughs). I really find I’m in my flow at the moment, you know what I mean? I’m just feeling like everything is how it should be. Even in the areas that aren’t working quite well, it still wouldn’t be called a struggle



What was your role in that separation?

wandia Gichuru : You know, I’m happy to talk to you about this because typically, I’m an open person, but I don’t know what my partner would think about me talking about this in the media, you know what I mean? There has to be some level of discretion and respect in these matters, you know?

But in a thumbnail, I would say that we both neglected the relationship; we didn’t fan the fire; we didn’t stoke it when the fire was dying. But I don’t have regrets about the marriage because from it came two amazing children aged 9 and 10 (both girls), so to regret this relationship would be to regret my children, and I wouldn’t.

And the irony is that it wasn’t even a bad marriage, he wasn’t a bad guy at all.

Were you the bad girl, then?

(Laughs) I don’t think I’m a bad person. I think the mistake we make is to stop paying attention to the marriage then you both wake up and find yourselves in this place that isn’t healthy.

Separation is the hardest thing ever, especially if you can’t explain it in ways that people expect. People expect your marriage to end if he was a bad person, well not in all cases.

Then there are the kids to think about…

Yes. But I think you can only be a good parent if you are happy. However, having said that, if you decide to leave both of you have to be very clear that you put your kids’ interests before everything. Everything else comes secondary.

What is your greatest insecurity?

My greatest insecurity is what you will write about this!! (Laughs). I used to have insecurity about not being liked, and I found myself saying yes to stuff while inside it didn’t feel right.

Let’s see your Bucket List.

I have countries I’d love to visit. I’m convinced I was Latin American in my former life. I’d love to visit Brazil. I just love the culture and food and music. It’s joyous.

In December, I was in Europe and stayed in Holland and Italy and in Italy it’s all bubbly and chattering and that’s the kind of personality of a country I would like. I’d love to go to Morocco, Spain and Portugal.

What haven’t I asked that you were sure I would ask?

If I’m a romantic. (Laughs)

Are you?

Hopeless! (Laughs). Hopeless romantic! I mean, I think love is the best thing. I write poetry…I love to be affectionate. I’m very huggy and kissy, and all that. (Laughs). I love love songs and romantic movies. I’m in love with love, I’m in love with life, that feeling of passion and excitement. (Dreamy look).

Last night, I saw the full moon as I dropped a friend at the airport and said, “Wow, look at the moon, so beautiful.” That’s the kind of person I am. I get excited when I see people in love. Just this morning, I posted a quote by Rumi that says, “Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.”

Thanks for the interview, and I hope you find love again.

I don’t have to. Love will find me. (Laughs)


She was born in 1968