RIDING ON ECLOF KENYA LTD: LUCY WASEGA’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNEY

Lucy Wasega, founder, Urban Hair Studio attending to one of her clients.
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Determined entrepreneur ventures into two businesses after being financed by ECLOF Kenya Ltd

By Zeiytun Sharamo

Entrepreneurship has long been an option for individuals seeking to generate income and make their lives better. Today, as formal employment becomes crowded, many people are gravitating towards the flexibility of entrepreneurship with the hope ofmeeting both their professional and financial goals. Whether you are planning to leave your current job, or seeking to make a side hustle, entrepreneurship provides you with greater flexibility than you may experience in formal employment.

Lucy Wasega, the founder of Urban Hair Studio realized the potential of entrepreneurship after working under someone for fifteen years. Wasega’s remarkable entrepreneurship journey took off early this year, with the help of ECLOF-Kenya Ltd.

Wasega says: “I realized that I was passionate about hair and beauty when I would go to visit my friend who owned a salon and I would spend hours there learning how to style hair.” She then joined Vera Beauty College back in 1998, where she gained skills and knowledge on hair and beauty for nearly one and a half years. After graduation, she decided to drop the beauty part of the training and concentrated more on hair. After many years of working as an employee, this visionary and diligent entrepreneur decided to liberate herself from employment. “There is so much flexibility and abundance of reward for someone who decides to take a leap of faith and break free from formal employment,” she avers, adding that she already had a clientele which made it easier for her business to take off.

Wasega offers services such as hair styling, makeup, skincare, manicure and pedicure. Her business targets the middle class. She gets most of her clients by advertising in social media platforms – Instagram and Facebook. Wasega says that one thing that makes her stand out from all the other hair stylists is her unique way of styling. “I consider myself to be a great hairstylist,” she says. She also adds that young women should embrace their fears because that is the first step in an entrepreneur’s journey. They should also appreciate that failure in business is a possibility. “It’s always good to give everything a try, you never know, it might work for you,” she affirms.

Lucy Wasega with her employees, Lavender Hosea (left) and Carolyn Tala (right).

Partnering with Eclof Kenya In 2010, Wasega joined a self-help group of twelve members named Bidii Special. They would do table banking during their meetings and contribute Kshs 300 every week for savings. However, just when they were on the verge of engaging into some ambitious projects, almost half of the group members left. Later that year, the remaining

eight members who decided not to throw in the towel got introduced to ECLOF Kenya Ltd which was such a life changing momentfor all of them. The group members meet on a weekly basis with a relationship officer from ECLOF Kenya Ltd, where they receive financial advice and training.” We offer training such as book keeping and financial management to our clients, which enables them to choose a suitable business to invest in,” says Daisy Kipyegon, a relationship officer at ECLOF Kenya Ltd.

Wasega was offered a loan of Kshs.30,000 after saving with her group, which she used to pay for her kid’s school fees. She paid it off within a short period of time before graduating to Kshs. 50,000. A few loans later, in 2017 she was able to buy a kindergarten in Donholm, Nairobi together with her husband. And within a relatively short period of time, her life completely transformed. The school currently has thirty five pupils and three teachers. It is managed by her husband.

Fast forward to October 2021, she received a Kshs. 400,000 loan from ECLOF Kenya Ltd which she used to establish her salon in 680 Hotel, along Muindi Mbingu – Nairobi’s central business district. Wasega says that the reason why she chose that particular location is that most of her clients would access it easily. Her businesses are thriving and when asked her vision for the school she says: “I am looking forward to applying for a bigger loan which will help me to grow my school, hopefully into a primary school.” She also aspires to grow her salon in the future where her clients can access various beauty maintenance services.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Just like it is common in many business ventures (especially in the start-up stage), Wasega’s have also encountered challenges. At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic for instance, most people worked from home. Consequently, they did not take much interest in their appearance and they rarely visited salons. Even after the government relaxed the guidelines and protocols that it had put in place in order to check the spread of deadly pandemic, Wasega’s salon business has not fully picked.

Nonetheless,no challenge is insurmountable and with the help of ECLOF Kenya Ltd, Wasega hopes to achieve her goals of becoming a leading entrepreneur in Kenya. “I have benefited a lot from the training offered by ECLOF Kenya Ltd. Now I am able to manage my finances well and I can easily spot opportunities that are likely to help in the growth of my business,” she ends.

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