Salon business has been one of the most thriving business in Kenya following the willingness of most women to spend an extra coin to have their hairs look attractive.
According to a 2013 survey by the Kenya Women Money Habits Survey, on women’s spending, Kenya’s hair industry which is fast booming is worth Sh20 billion, thanks to women willing to spend their money on grooming & beauty.
Today, the African hair extension market is estimated to be worth Sh60.2 trillion making it a huge interest with nearly every lady wanting to contribute to this mega pie.
On average, many Nairobian entrepreneurs in the sector will tell you that a basic salon requires Sh150,000 to start.
Assuming one already has a strategic location, this cash can be used to buy basic equipment such as a blowdryer, curling iron, dryer and combs, as well as styling products and cover a month’s rent for the small outlet.
However, for Georgina Kirungo, the Founder of Nywele Creative company, only Sh7,500 from her personal savings was enough for her to start her, now thriving business small in 2011.
Indeed, it has become one of the leading chains of luxury hair with three boutiques in Nairobi’s upmarket Krishna Center in Westlands, Green House Mall on Ngong Road, Two Rivers along Limuru Road and Garden City Mall on Thika Road.
The company deals in products, goods, merchandise, services and activities related to salons, manicure and pedicure, facial care, braiding and plaiting and spa services.
“I had to start small because one of the challenges I realised the sector has been facing is the fact that some clients do not understand why there is need to spend on quality services and there is need to carry them along. With time they come to appreciate the work and begin to start demanding for better services with increased willingness to spend,” said Georgina.
She says that this is why some of the salon owners face challenges and that it cuts across the industry in the Kenyan market include the counterfeit virgin hair distributed throughout the country.
The culture of bargaining stemming from the belief that cheap is better is actually fueling the business making it difficult to convince clients into the idea that genuine high-quality hair extensions are like most other high-priced investments.
A genuine virgin hair costs between Sh11,000 and Sh400,000 for a piece.
However, living up to their promise of consistency and providing the same standard of high-quality products and services in all their branches has been the company’s secret to success.
“In this industry, offering the best is the only way to win. Today, some of my clients include entrepreneurs, senior Government officials, and TV presenters among other other celebrities,” said the 29 year-old entrepreneur.
Kirungo says that it is the techniques her team employs in their complimentary hair salons to ensure that the natural hair is protected is what keeps their customers coming.
To form the best work-force that gives the desired outcome for their wide client base, the company from time to time does increase the number of the employees even as it continue to open up new branches and more business opportunities.
“Our team has grown over the years and we recruit individuals who have a strong passion for what we do and a strong ability to carry out professional services within this field,” said Kirugo.
Nywele Creative is now one of the leading virgin hair brand in East Africa saving a wide range of clients in the Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, UK, US, Sweden and UAE.
The firm boasts of over 15 staff and an annual turnover of over Sh50 million.