Anami Wachinga: How Entrepreneur Built a Nail Brand in Her 20s

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Photos: Anami Wachinga

By Prudence Minayo

Anami Wachinga is the founder of Thamar Nail and gel polish. Her vibrant array of nail polishes come in different tones and colors and are of top notch quality. Wachinga had always been in love with cosmetics but had no idea that one day she would come up with her own nail brand.

Education

Born and raised in Nairobi, she pursued a Bachelor of Science in Financial Engineering, something she did not want to do but had it chosen for her. It was while pursuing her undergraduate degree that she fell in love with nail polish and knew she wanted to do something along those lines. She then proceeded to pursue a Masters in Strategic Management.

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Career and Starting Thamar

She thought her career would be in the financial world but during her very short stint in employment, she realized it was not something she enjoyed. During her period of working, she would sell nail products on the side and finally quit to start her business. At first, she was a distributor for an international brand but all went south when the brand decided to stop dealing with international distributors. She was left with a lot of dead stock but this inspired her to start her own brand. The CEO had always been fond of the whole process of manufacturing and seeing things come together.

In a previous interview with Capital, the bubbly entrepreneur said she loved visiting factories and seeing people come up with their own products. To start manufacturing the nail products, she worked with a cosmetic formulator and they continued to correct the brand until it was ready for the market. She believes in continuously improving her products, something that even bigger brands are always keen to do. For her, it is very important to hire professionals as they teach you a lot and could help you avoid a lot of mistakes.

After making the first batch, they had to test it and see how it reacted to certain conditions and how long it took to expire among other things. After getting all the nitty gritty, she was then ready to invest in machinery. She started with regular nail polish, followed by gel polish, and then introduced various other things, like, removers, cuticle oils, massage oils and body scrubs. What gives her joy is seeing her clients appreciate the brand.

She is also proud that she has made something that she is also comfortable to wear as she is sure the right procedures were followed during manufacturing. Thamar distribute their products through a major chemist, stockists and online. Additionally, they ensure they sell authentic products bearing in mind that fake products will always be there and people will buy them.

However, they wouldn’t want anyone to imitate their products which in a past interview she said are 7 free. This means that are free of the seven toxic chemicals often found in many nail polish brands. She explained that during the formulation of nail polish, there are some basic ingredients when mixed form poisonous chemicals. While other people go the extra mile to remove them before packaging, other manufacturers leave them to avoid spending more money.Some of the basic things to look out for with nail polish that has poisonous substance are how the skin around the nail behaves and if it causes discoloration.

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For entrepreneurs wishing to get into any business in Kenya, she said they should just do it. But first, they need to study the market and ensure there is a need so that they don’t end up creating products thinking it solves a need only to be disappointed.

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