Mary Omollo, 27, is one of those people you encounter and instantly feel her enthusiasm. From her smiles, you can tell she likes people and loves to laugh.
Minutes more with Mary, it dawns on you that her smiles are only but scars turned stars. Like most young people after high school, Mary enrolled for a marketing course at the expense of her childhood dream of being a community developer.
“Business studies was my favourite subject,” she says. “It influenced all the decisions and the dreams I had from childhood. When I finally had an opportunity to join college, I choose to make business part of my life forever.”
Not so long, fate handed Mary a curve. Economic misfortune popped hit her family, forcing her to drop out of college and join hands with other members of her family in fundraising for her ailing father. Mary decided to look for a sales and marketing jobs in various companies and beauty shops in Nairobi. But all this time, her passion for make-up was bubbling underneath.
And so the ambitious lady she is, she started doing make-up as her side hustle. “Doing make-up was my best hobby. I always loved it, working in beauty shops just boosted my morale to go deeper in the beauty market.”
For four years, Mary had tried hand in over five businesses from the little savings she made but failed. Finally, she called it quits from formal employment to concentrate on what she loved doing most: make-up.
Her first try was, however, met with frustration when a client turned her down just because she did not belong to her tribe. That did not deter her. Mary says she spent hours on YouTube learning about different brushes, masks, eyeliners and styles. “I felt it was time to pursue my passion. Wake me up any time and I will do make-up. That’s what I love doing,” she says.
Mary does make-up for video shootings, weddings and photoshoots among other events says that weddings form the bulk of her work.
She charges Ksh5000 per bride, Ksh2,000 for each maid plus a retainer of Ksh3000 if she stays with the bridal team for the day. For photo shoots, she charges Ksh3,500 per head.
Mary now says people are beginning to appreciate the beauty and make-up industry, which has stimulated some growth. “You can’t grow a business without passion,” she adds.