Editor's Review

In May 2024, Wandia made headlines after President Ruto officially opened Vivo Fashion Group’s first store in the United States in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Wandia Gichuru is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vivo Fashion Group, a retail fashion enterprise established in 2011 in Kenya. 

Vivo is a clothing brand that aims to see Africa dress herself and Africa dress the world, by strengthening the local fashion industry, promoting intra-African trade, and building and supporting African brands.

In line with Vivo's vision, Wandia and her team have been making moves and as of May 2024, Vivo had penetrated East Africa and opened its first branch in Atlanta, Georgia.

This article outlines Wandia's journey, focusing on her education, career, and business journey.

Education and Early Life

Wandia attended Loreto Convent Msongari for her O-levels between 1980 and 1983. She later joined the University of Brunswick for two years after which she moved to Western University in Canada, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.

In 1996, Eight years after attaining her Bachelor's degree, she enrolled at the University of Cape Town where she graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA).


According to Wandia's LinkedIn profile, her first job was as a project coordinator at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), where she served for two years between 1993 and 1994. She thereafter took a public relations job at Citi where she worked until December 1996.

In 1997, Wandia joined the World Bank as an Operations Analyst, a position she held for eighteen months, before transitioning to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York office as a policy adviser. 

File image of Wandia Gichuru. [Photo: Courtesy]

She held the position for two years and later left the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, where she served as a Governance Adviser.

This was her last formal employment before she moved into business.

Business Establishments

In 2011, she co-founded Vivo Fashion Group with its flagship brands being Vivo Woman, Safari, and Zoya. The brands were specifically tailored to suit and complement modern Africans who are known for being stylish yet comfortable, functional, and affordable.

Speaking at past interviews, Wandia noted that they started Vivo without a clear plan and strategy, adding that they had one small shop at a mall in the city.

However, after years of work, Vivo has grown and has 25 physical stores across Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda as of May 2024.

Vivo has employed over 500 workers, 70% of which are women and 70% are under the age of 30. It was named Kenyan Fashion Brand of the Year at the Kenya Fashion Awards in both 2016 and 2017.

In addition to Vivo, Wandia also co-founded ShopZetu, a multi-brand e-commerce platform dedicated to trendy and affordable fashion, beauty, and accessories brands.

Vivo Fashion Atlanta Branch

In May 2024, Wandia made headlines after President William Ruto officially opened Vivo Fashion Group’s first store in the United States in Atlanta, Georgia at Atlanta Station Mall.

While opening the store, President Ruto hailed Wandia noting that the bold move was a win not only for Kenya but also for Africa as a whole.

President William Ruto, Wandia Gichuru and other guests at the opening of the Vivo Fashion Group Atlanta, Georgia branch 

“This is not just a win for Vivo, but for Kenya and Africa as a whole. It showcases the global potential of African brands and the entrepreneurial spirit that drives our continent forward,” Ruto said.

On her part, Wandia said: "To see our brand, which started in my living room in Nairobi, now opening a store in Atlanta, is truly a dream come true. This moment is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and passion of our entire team and the support of our loyal customers."

Explaining how Vivo Fashion, Atlanta branch came to be, Wandia in a TikTok interview Sharon Mundia, said it all started with an interview to Essence Festival where their products got a great reception, prompting them to consider setting up in America.

On why they chose Atlanta, she divulged that the city has a large African American community, good weather that is suitable for the type of clothes they produce, it has an international airport and is affordable compared to other cities such as New York.