Your Everyday People- Interview series
Tell us your name, what you do and how long you have been an entrepreneur.
My name is Pauline Ogolla, popularly known as naildoctor001. I am a Beautician who owns and runs a beauty parlor called Beauty Lynn Studio. We are located at Yusuf Ali mansion in Moi avenue, Mombasa.
Currently, I started what I call a kibandisky, where I sell cereals and groceries that we supply directly to our customers.
I have been an entrepreneur for three years now.
How did you get the idea to start this business? Take us to the beginning.
My childhood passion was beauty. After college I got a job at Style Point Salon, Mombasa, where I worked for eight months earning a monthly salary of Ksh. 1500. Later, I got my second job at a certain hotel that I have forgotten it’s name, where I worked for a year. My monthly salary there was Ksh. 5000.
Working at that hotel was a frustrating experience. Employees would go for several months without being paid their dues. This increasing frustration created in me an urge to open my own business. What held me back at the time was lack of capital as I did not have any savings to get me started.
I left the hotel and landed a job at Studio 73, there I worked on commission basis for another seven years. Equipped with the great learnings at Studio 73, I was able to rent my own space at a salon called Ariz. After a year of proper planning and determination, I was finally able to open my current salon where I enjoyed immense success and built a loyal customer base.
Until the COVID 19 pandemic hit early this year.
Before I could comprehend what was happening, a stay at home and closure of businesses order was issued by the government. Like many other business owners, we were forced to close and adhere to the government directives.
After staying home for a week, my bills did not stop growing. I became restless knowing that they would not pay themselves. I then resolved to do something to earn some money.
I acted fast.
So, I started buying groceries and cereals and resold to my neighbors and Facebook friends.
God has been faithful; I give him all the glory.
Tell us more about your business. How does an ordinary day look like?
Beauty Lynn is a place where beauty speaks for itself. We specialise in, hair services, makeup, facials and nails. Before the world came to a standstill, we could handle between ten to fifteen clients in an ordinary day.
In my other business, which I also call covid-hustle, I supply raw or cooked cereals, fresh vegetables, and fruits. I basically sell anything found in the market that is consumable.
By the crack of dawn, I am in the market to buy my supplies. Mid-morning finds that I am already done with the packaging and sorting out of customer orders and we are on our way for delivery with my partner.
How do you market your business and which tactics have been most successful?
Social media has provided me with an incredible platform where I have been able to reach a wider clientele. Facebook and Instagram have been my key focus areas. I also mastered the art of using paid ads for my work, this has been a great success in reaching out to everyone who is not within my circle of friends in my social media accounts.
We also strive to offer excellent services in that our clients leave not only happy but satisfied. As a result we have seen an increase of referrals sent our way. Word of mouth is a tool that has favored us tremendously.
What are some of the mistakes that you wish you could have avoided in your entrepreneurial journey?
Lack of proper financial knowledge from the time I started out, made me indulge in some poor money choices. For instance, I used to spend more than I earned, and I spent a lot money when out with friends in order to please them or fit in with the circle. I also did not save for emergencies neither did I separate personal finances from business.
I lost money.
Nevertheless, I thank God for the knowledge that I have gained along this journey. Learning from my mistakes is the best wisdom I got.
What challenges do you face in your business and how do you overcome them?
Beauty industry is flooded with fake products in the market, this has been a great challenge for us in getting genuine suppliers and or products. However, we always try to not only use the best but also genuine suppliers and ensuring that we give our customers value for their money.
Debt is one area that is affecting most businesses and most people shy away from speaking about it due to fear of losing clients. For us, we found a way to manage it effectively in that, our business operation is not affected. We have a mutual understanding of how to pay our suppliers within an agreeable time frame. In case, of any unforeseeable circumstances that arise, we go back to our suppliers and negotiate new terms. This way we keep our business afloat and still maintain a good relationship with our partners.
We have faced unhealthy competition in the industry such that some beauty practitioners offer exceptionally low pricing for their services. It therefore becomes a bit challenging to offer higher pricing for our services. But at the end of the day, we have chosen to focus on not our pricing but on the quality of our services. Customers, we have realised, they are smart. They understand that quality services is value for their money.
How has the COVID Pandemic affected your business and what adjustments have you done to combat it?
Covid has really affected the beauty industry in general. Personally, I closed my practice for two months following the directives from Mombasa county government. After staying home for one week, I got bored and started thinking whether to continue living in fear like others or embrace the change and figure a new way to make a living. I chose the latter.
Viazi karai* idea come to my mind and I gave it a shot. I started cooking viazis and supplied to my local community within the estate where I live. Then, people started asking for raw potatoes. That is how the idea of supplying groceries was born.
Immediately, I started going to the market to buy groceries, then I would add Ksh. 30 for each order and deliver at the comfort of my client’s doorstep.
The pandemic opened my eyes that we all need a side hustle in life.
When it gets tough in your business, what motivates you to keep going?
When I look back at where I have come from, I see that I have covered the biggest hurdles in my life. I affirm myself that I did not come this far to give up when the going gets tough. I have learnt to lean on God and seek his guidance and He strengthens me to keep pressing on.
God is the lead in my business.
Surely, if you put God at the center of it all, He will guide you through the tough times.
What are your future plans?
I am working towards opening branches of Beauty Lynn in Nairobi and Kisumu counties. It is also my hope that my new venture in food supply will blossom into a whole sale shop for cereals in 2021.
What advise would you give someone who wants to start a business and they do not know where to start?
You can do anything that you have set your mind on. The beauty of it is that, you do not need much to start, start with what you have, where you are.
Challenges are there. You will face them, but do not give up. Keep striving to where you want to be. You will get there no matter how long it takes.
How can people get in touch with you for your services?
For our services like our page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnsnailbar and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/beautylynnstudio . We are located at Yusuf Ali Mansion shop no.5 along Moi avenue ,Mombasa.
Call us on 0780969336 to book your appointment.
*a popular coastal dish made from frying potatoes
Believe in yourself and all that you are, know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacleChristian D Larson
Enjoyed this feature? Great! Be sure to hit the share and follow button on our blog.
Don’t miss our next interview!
It gets better, if you or someone you know, think that they should be featured, send us an email below. We look forward to hear from you.