Agnes Maina: Founder Of Estate Salon That Grew To A Chain Of Upmarket Beauty Parlours In Nairobi

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Agnes Maina: Founder Of Estate Salon That Grew To A Chain Of Upmarket Beauty Parlours In Nairobi
Agnes Maina is the founder of Milele Executive Salon and Barbershop Photo Credits/DailyNation

By Prudence Minayo

Agnes Maina is the proprietor of Milele Executive Salon and Barbershop. The salon’s flagship branch began in Embakasi and today has spread its tentacles in Lavington, Hurlingham, South B, Karen and Kilimani.  

Here is the story of the proprietor as told by WoK

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The Beginning 

To venture into the business, Agnes quit her lucrative job as a manager to the costernation of some of her friends who thought she had lost it. Nonetheless, she wanted to take on the beauty industry and revolutionize how people perceived salons. 

The Kenyatta University alumni felt people didn’t take the salon and barber business seriously. Her view was that financial injection was not the determining factor for a successful business but rather it was strict work ethics. It helped that she had worked as a manager for a company that among other things dealt with beauty products. 

First Branch 

The first outlet of Milele was opened in Embakasi where Agnes was a resident. She poured Sh200,000 of her savings into the business which has since grown into a mid size company that provides jobs for about 100 people. 

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At the beginning, the business was marketed through flyers and word of mouth. As clients began to increase, they would get more through referrals. They established a very loyal clientele that even after customers relocated, they would go back to Embakasi for their hairdo. This is what inspired her to open other branches. 

Other branches 

In 2007, her plans would come into fruition after she met a business owner who wanted to sell their salon in Hurlingham and Karen. She bought the salon thus expanding Milele’s reach. The need to expand was also in order to provide employment for the many beauty students who were looking for a place to do their attachments. 

To boost brand loyalty, she began offering special services to loyal clients. For example, new mothers with young children could be offered services at their homes at no added costs. She also devised unique arrangements for those with weddings or hotel guests. 

The businesswoman was the first to introduce DNA hair replacement techniques, something that has since been taken up by other salons. 

The salon management is not centralized. She allows her employees to choose someone amongst themselves to run the various departments on a monthly rotational basis. The staff can also shortlist people whenever there is a vacancy and conduct preliminary interviews. 

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“Most of my employees are youth and one thing I have realised is that the youth don’t like working in a tightly controlled environment,” she told the Daily Nation. 

By 2012, she also had a staff Sacco where members made monthly contributions. This was with the intention to buy land and subdivide it amongst themselves. She visits every outlet daily to oversee operations but generally she has staff managing each outlet. 

In an interview with Nation, she said what keeps them afloat is the fact that they never compromise on quality. Despite the expansions, they still manage to maintain high quality. 

Today, they offer a variety of  services in the outlets including hair, beauty, spa, tummy tone up and services designed to restore skin elasticity, promote moisture retention and reduce cellulite appearance. 

From the salon, she is able to earn good money. 

“I cannot disclose how much I earn but it is enough to pay all my employees, pay my rent and go back home with some profit,” said Ms Maina, “all I can tell my fellow entrepreneurs is that perseverance and passion are the keys to achievement.”

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