The Kenyan beauty industry, which is estimated to be worth Sh6.6 billion, is a lucrative venture for young people. Farouk Njogu sought to have a bite of the industry when he set up a nail parlour in Eldoret.
The parlour mostly caters to Moi University students. It is here where he started his business journey by establishing his first nail polish enterprise.
Mr Njogu, who is studying for a bachelor of arts degree in Education in Moi University, started the business in February 2015 by setting up a stall to apply nail polish to Moi University students, at a nearby market known as Mabatini. At the end of the day, he earned Sh2,000 profit.
“The turn up was good. I applied nail polish to 20 clients and was lucky because at that time I was enjoying a monopoly. This was my turning point because I realised a gap in that market,” says Mr Njogu who now rakes in Sh70,000 monthly.
The self-taught nail technician then rented workspace at the university’s market in 2016 at a cost of Sh8,000 where he set up Apex Nail Tech. He has since partnered with his first employee, Dominic Mwangi, to run the business.
Mr Njogu,24 has now increased the range of services he is offering at the parlour to include ear piercing, eyebrows shaping, pedicure, manicure, facial scrubbing, dreadlocks retouch and henna tattoos.
“I have known Mr Farouk since I joined the University in October 2016 and his services are good. He is also flexible and responds to booking orders,” says Mary Lukobi, a second-year student taking Bachelor in Informatics.
He currently makes a profit of Sh2,500 daily after taking care of costs. He has five employees who help him deliver services at the premises. The number of clients in a day are between 30 and 50.
“I get a lot of clients on weekends and in the evening throughout the week. On rainy days, my clients are few mainly because of the bad roads leading to where my business is located,” says Mr Njogu who is set to graduate in December.
“What inspires me most is seeing my clients happy after offering them what they desire. Money comes second to me; my clients come first,” says Mr Njogu.
When students are not in session his business suffers immensely for lack of customers.
“The main challenge I face in my business is when students break for long vacation and also when there is a strike. The business deteriorates from getting 50 clients a day to two or three clients a day,” says the entrepreneur.
Mr Njogu always wanted to run his own show. Before venturing into the business, he was selling earrings, necklaces and bangles in student’s hostels, moving door to door for two years. This was earning him Sh14,000 a month.
However, he decided to venture into nail polish business when he saw a gap he could fill.
“After several requests from my clients, I started offering nail polish at a cost of Sh100 for both toes and hands,” says Mr Njogu.
Although he was not an expert in the new field, his skills in nail polish improved with time and with the help of social media groups such as WhatsApp, posters and referrals from friends and clients, his services among students of Moi University main campus became popular.
Without any training on nail beauty, Mr Njogu took advantage of outdoor events in school where he would put up his station and deliver services to students.