All the way from Burundi, Sally Kamenge travelled to Kenya to make a life and settled for the personal grooming industry; she tells of her exploits as a make-up artist
It is not always a smooth ride for most people whenever they have to do their makeup. While applying makeup seems like a simple exercise, gaining perfection in this art takes lots of expertise and practice.
This is the reason why the beauty industry around the world continues to grow as demand for makeup artists keeps on rising. But even with good makeup artists, there is usually no guarantee that a person will get the exact results that they would like.
Indeed, the beauty industry is as personalized as any other personal grooming industry. This is the gap that Sally Kamenge, a Kenyan with an origin in Burundi saw when she decided to venture into the industry a year ago.
“Seeing people do their make-up wrongly motivated me to venture in this business.”
Interestingly, Sally has no formal training in makeup and beauty. Her creativity supplemented with a little bit of research from beauty sites has helped her to come up with innovative ideas that make her services stand out. “This business is based on passion, I love doing make-up and I am happy that our services have been received very well.”
Located at Imenti House along Moi Avenue in Nairobi, Sally’s salon offers services to different kinds of people. She also does bridal make up for brides, grooms and bridal parties at competitive rates. In addition to these, she offers competitively priced beauty enhancement services for customers before a photo-shoot and videography.
“I have cut a niche in the industry, you just need to do it well and offer good quality. That is what keeps us competitive in the market. Our prices are also customer friendly since we start with a package of Sh3,000 for bridal make-up, photo shoot and even videography,” she offers.
While most people would think make up was just for the face, it involves many other areas. For Sally, she also offers hair and nails make up services.
Considering the many makeup artists competing for customers in Nairobi, make up jobs are usually not many for start ups.
“The frequency of jobs depends on the seasons. But I have managed to have consistence by targeting bridal parties since weddings happen every now and then.”
Still with the cut throat competition, she manages to get an average of between 20 to 30 jobs every month. “It is not hard getting customers when you do a good job,” she quips.
Sally mainly uses social media to market her services. In as much as it is a personalised business, makeup artists cannot run the show alone.
“I have people working for me and I also do it myself.”
The beauty industry has not always been Sally’s dream career. At a young age, she wanted to become a professional tennis player. However, this changed overtime and passion drove her into the current occupation.
The young entrepreneur says that she did not receive the necessary support from her parents to pursue her dream career, and cites this as the reason why she decided to look for something that she enjoys doing.
She advises parents to always listen to what their children dream of becoming and help them realise their dreams.
“More often than not, parents choose for their children what to do unaware that if they gave their children liberty to make their choices, and support them, they would lead more fulfilling lives.”
Sally points out that finding a footing in the beauty industry was not easy. She had to raise funds to establish a business, and raising capital was one of her biggest challenges but she was fortunate enough to get help from friends and family.
“Even though in the beginning it was an uphill task, family and friends came to my rescue and I was able to take off.”
There are many other challenges facing startups like hers. But as she observes, once the business has gained traction and the entrepreneur knows who his/her clients are, and how to best retain them while attracting more customers, then there is no cause for worry. The beauty industry is an art industry and you have to stand out. You need to be
What makes her to stand out is the excellent customer care services that she offers. It takes passion and hard work for one to succeed in any business and Sally has both.
It also takes experience to run a successful business. For Sally, she worked in the food industry for two years before starting her own business. The lessons she learnt came in handy when she ventured into the make-up industry as a business owner. “From my previous job, I learnt managerial skills that I apply in my business on a daily basis.”
While not applying makeup on people’s faces and nails, Sally unwinds by dancing and singing, her two main hobbies anchored on her love for art.
As a young entrepreneur who has tested the waters of entrepreneurship, she has some advice for aspiring and practising entrepreneurs. “Resilience is a must have if one is to succeed in business.” Sally attributes part of her achievements as a make-up artiste to networking with the right people.
Even though she considers her business a start-up, the youthful entrepreneur is as ambitious as ever. In the next five years, she hopes to have outlets all over Africa. “I also want to expand into the fashion industry and modeling,” she enthuses.