By Prudence Minayo
Lintons Beauty World is a one-stop cosmetics and beauty provider with 28 branches distributed across Nairobi, Mombasa and Kampala. They stock some of the biggest beauty brands including: Clarins, Chanel, Clinique, MAC, Lancome, Dior, Lauder, Black Opal, Mary Kay, and Estee. The beauty products distributor also stocks products from local manufacturers. The business has withstood the test of time and overcome challenges including a terror attack, and today is one of the leading beauty products distributors in the country. They have also taken advantage of e-commerce platforms, like, Jumia to make their products more accessible to customers.
This successful business is the brainchild of Dr. Joyce Gikunda. She has always loved beauty and whenever she accompanied her husband abroad, she always shopped for beauty products. This is what prompted her to venture into this lucrative business.
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Here is her story as told by WoK.
Background and Education
Dr. Joyce Gikunda was born in Meru as the first born of eight siblings. As a child, she saw her grandmother sell fruits at the market. This was her first brush with entrepreneurship.
As she grew, her interest in skin care developed. She would use various things on her skin and hair including coconut oil and olive oil. She would also often experiment with make up, which at the time was mostly compact powder.
After high school, Dr. Joyce Gikunda joined the University of Nairobi for a course in Pharmacy. Here, she learnt various skills in research, healthcare and manufacture. She loved retail Pharmacy and worked for many years at the Ministry of Health. Her husband would often encourage her to leave formal employment and start building a family business.
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Lintons Beauty World
In 1983, they used their savings to establish their first shop in Buruburu. A few years later, an Indian who was selling his pharmacy approached them to buy it. They took a chance and bought the Pharmacy located along Mama Ngina. For the next decade, they sold both beauty and pharmaceutical products, and the business was booming. During this time, they reached out to various international brands in a bid to stock their products. They were always met with an apology each time since the global players did not think Africa was their target market.
As fate would have it, a global brand visited their shop. They told them a partnership was impossible since they were focusing on beauty products and not pharmaceutical products. This influenced their decision to transform the shop into a beauty brand. Hence, Lintons Pharmacy became Lintons Beauty Worlds.
They opened their first beauty store at Westgate Mall in 2007. At first, it was not easy to convince customers to buy their pricier products since there were many cheap and counterfeit products in the market.
In 2013, they faced a huge blow following the Westgate Mall terror attack. Their shop was destroyed and it was back to square one. In 2014, they had a big breakthrough following a contract by global cosmetics brand MAC.
Lintons Academy and Foundation
In 2017, Linton’s Academy was established in Westlands, Nairobi. They offer courses in skincare, customer service, makeup artistry, nail technology and entrepreneurship among others.
Lintons also runs a foundation which aims to help refugees, the marginalized, the vulnerable who live in informal settlements and the youths. They also support a number of Sustainable Development Goals, such as offering quality education, economic growth, promoting decent work and alleviating poverty. To date, they have sponsored over 20 individuals to colleges and have joined hands with Zero Street Children. This is an organization that helps street families and children.
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