Monday, May 27, 2024

Geraldine Waruguru: Kenyan pilot who turned perfumes side hustle into lucrative venture

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The year 2020 brought unprecedented challenges to the world, particularly to the aviation industry. The pandemic resulted in many pilots and airline personnel facing job insecurity and loss of income.

However, Geraldine Waruguru Gitau, a pilot working for Kenya Airways, had a backup plan that has proven to be a success.

Her side hustle of selling perfumes eventually turned into a multi-million-dollar enterprise, making her among the most successful female entrepreneurs in Kenya.

Geraldine’s passion for flying started when her late father, a ship captain, introduced her to one of his pilot friends at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

Her love for flying was instant, and she knew she wanted to pursue a career in aviation. In a past interview, she said ”flying is one of the most exhilarating careers out there. I’m ever on the move. Assessing and evaluating different situations and making quick and timely decisions. I love it. Keeps me on my toes,”

While working as a pilot, Geraldine started Scents by Geraldine, a perfume business, in mid-2016. She had the opportunity to travel widely, meet people, experience different cultures, and sample perfumes. She loves perfumes, and so when it was time to start her business, she dived into what was natural.

The perfume market in Kenya is filled with foreign brands and imitation perfumes. People choose price over quality, and changing that buying culture is not easy. Geraldine faced the same challenges when she started her business.

Creating brand awareness and changing perceptions that a quality fragrance can be made by a Kenyan was an uphill task. But with a resilient spirit and determination, she has managed to create a Kenyan sensation in the perfume market.

Scents by Geraldine started with one signature scent developed by a German company in Berlin. One year later, the first signature scent landed in Kenya, and since then, the business has grown to include a range of original and affordable perfumes.

Geraldine’s perfumes have been received very well in the Kenyan market, and her loyal customers can attest to their quality.

Her business journey has not been without its challenges. Starting any business is never easy, and without a passion for it, one can easily give up.

For Geraldine, creating brand awareness and changing people’s perceptions of locally-made perfumes has been a challenge. But with a resilient spirit and determination, she has managed to create a Kenyan sensation in the perfume market.

Geraldine’s business journey has not been without its challenges. Starting any business is never easy, and without a passion for it, one can easily give up.

10 businesses young people in Kenya’s towns can open with little to zero capital

For Geraldine, creating brand awareness and changing people’s perceptions of locally-made perfumes has been a challenge. But with a resilient spirit and determination, she has managed to create a Kenyan sensation in the perfume market.

Geraldine envisions a time when Scents by Geraldine will be a household name in Kenya, and most Kenyans will have sampled one or more perfumes in her range of scents.

 This is because she knows once people try her perfumes, they will be hooked just like her loyal customers.

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