John Mbugua, a 34-year-old entrepreneur from Nakuru town, Kenya, has shattered stereotypes and carved a niche for himself in the beauty industry.
With a passion for his craft, Mbugua has defied expectations and built a thriving beauty parlour, challenging the notion that this industry is exclusively for women.
Mbugua’s entrepreneurial journey began four years ago when he opened JM Nail Spa and Beauty Parlour on Kenyatta Avenue in Nakuru.
Armed with a mere Ksh100, he started on this venture, purchasing three bottles of nail polish and some cotton wool.
Little did he know that this humble beginning would pave the way for his success.
”I started with Ksh100. I used the money to buy three bottles of nail polish, each costing Ksh20 and cotton wool. On the first day, I made Sh500 profit; I could not believe it,” he said.
Undeterred by the challenges and armed with a vision, Mbugua hustled to promote his services.
He hawked his skills from one salon to another, slowly gaining recognition.
As demand grew in 2019, he received numerous calls from clients, prompting him to establish his own beauty parlour.
“Two years into the enterprise, the business started picking up and I took a Ksh15,000 bank loan to expand and employ two assistants,” he said. Three months later, he went back for Ksh20,000 to invest in the venture.
What sets Mbugua apart is his firm belief that what a woman can do, a man can do too.
Despite the industry’s traditional association with women, he stood his ground and proved that men could excel in the beauty sector as well.
His parlour now offers over 15 different services, including manicures, pedicures, and facial make-ups, catering to diverse clientele.
Understanding the importance of staying relevant, he enrolled in a diploma course in cosmetology, honing his skills and staying up-to-date with the latest trends in facial, nail, and hair styling.
He also embraced digital marketing, leveraging platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter to promote his business.
However, he believes that the most effective marketing tool is word of mouth, with satisfied clients becoming his greatest advocates.
In a country like Kenya, where approximately 77 percent of the workforce is employed in the informal sector, Mbugua advocates for vocational and technological training.
He emphasizes the need for basic skills and believes that empowering the youth with these skills can bridge the gap between education and employment.
With half a million youths graduating from Kenyan universities annually, vocational training is crucial to prepare them for meaningful employment.
Mbugua’s journey has not been without challenges.
Being a man in a female-dominated industry, he faced ridicule and skepticism from friends and acquaintances.
One significant challenge that Mbugua faces in his industry is counterfeit cosmetic products.
.“Fake cosmetics are finding their way into some beauty product outlets, placing consumers at risk of purchasing inferior and possibly hazardous products and leaving high-end retailers scrambling to differentiate their products from potentially dangerous imitations,” Mbugua pointed out.
With a monthly turnover of about Kshh200,000, the businessman is upbeat.
“I plan to expand my business to all 11 sub-counties and employ more than 100 youth,” said Mbugua.