In the midst of the challenges many Kenyans face in their quest for stable employment, Mawia Kitivo, armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Moi University, embarked on an unconventional path that would ultimately lead her to become a successful beauty entrepreneur.
Her journey took an unexpected turn after four years of relentless job hunting with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) left her without a teaching position. However, Mawia’s spirit remained unbroken.
Rather than succumbing to despair, she redirected her focus to a realm that had always fascinated her – the captivating world of beauty and makeup. Her journey led her to the beauty parlors of Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, where she began freelancing.
As she wielded brushes and created stunning makeovers, Mawia discovered a hidden talent that would change the course of her life. What had started as a means to earn a living soon transformed into a passion-driven venture.
“I started this makeup business in 2018 when I was in university, though it wasn’t that serious. I was doing it for fun with my fellow classmates. I later realized the more I did it, the more cash I generated from it,” she explained.
Armed with a modest starting capital of Ksh10,000 earned from freelancing, Mawia embarked on a journey of self-discovery and business development. The initial days were not without challenges. Starting a business from scratch demanded relentless dedication and a steep learning curve. However, adversity proved to be her greatest teacher.
With time, Mawia mastered the art of makeup and honed her customer service skills. She realized that by offering a personalized and unique experience, she could create a brand that stood out in a competitive market. The results spoke for themselves.
Within a year, Mawia’s business was thriving, and her clientele demanded more. She expanded her offerings, venturing into wigs customization, permanent makeup, nails services, and facials.
The year 2020 brought an unexpected challenge in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic. With weddings and events postponed, Mawia’s business faced a significant setback. However, she refused to be defeated. Drawing upon her resilience, Mawia found ways to navigate the storm. She continued to innovate, using social media platforms to market her services and leveraging word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers.
Mawia’s dedication to her business led to further growth. Her two beauty studios, located at Zion Mall and Rupa Mall, now collectively earn around Ksh1 million in annual revenue. However, success did not deter her from her commitment to employee development. As her customer base expanded, Mawia hired and trained seven employees, focusing on nurturing their talents just as she had nurtured her own.
Yet, challenges remained. High tax rates weighed heavily on her business, and Mawia used her platform to advocate for more favorable conditions for entrepreneurs. Despite the obstacles, her determination remained unshaken.
Looking ahead, Mawia envisions a future filled with growth and empowerment. “In the next five years, I see growth in our business. I am planning to open different branches in different counties and a beauty school hence creating more job opportunities for young people,” she said.