The COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything life as we knew it was altered. We had to learn and start coping with restrictions on movement, association and generally how we lived our lives. What was thought was a brief interruption has continued 2 years on.
It has been argued that 2020 and 2021 were the toughest years for running businesses. Starting a business at that time is arguable an insurmountable challenge. Well, we caught up with Maryann, who started a beauty business before it all started. She has weathered the storm and is raring to go.
Here is her story…
My name is Maryann Njeri.
I am the CEO & Founder Koxie Beauty
I have a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a specialisation in Finance and over 8 years work experience in Human Resource Management. I ventured into active Entrepreneurship at the tail end of 2019 and just before the global Covid-19 Pandemic hit.
However, in retrospect, I have been an entrepreneur since I was 10 years old.
I used to find creative ways to make things such as birthday cards, ribbons among other things and would sell to my relatives and friends in the estate. My mother always said I would land in Marketing because of my strong persuasive skills and with entrepreneurship I get to live that dream and vision.
I am a wife and mother of two lovely children. My Family is the strong foundation and spring board upon which I create confidently and thrive within the entrepreneurship space.
Business Environment in Kenya
We have a long way to go as far as business policies, laws required & necessary resources to help entrepreneurs succeed are concerned. Kenya has some of the most creative, skilled and talented people you can think of and the government should invest heavily in this sector to grow the economy, create employment and reduce costs of importation.
Greatest Influence in Business & Life
My late Mother is my greatest influence.
I saw her work very long hours and despite inevitable challenges, she always managed to put a meal on the table all while raising 4 children. As far as I can remember, she was always in business. Together with my father they had a transport company that worked within the construction industry and my mother managed the company full time.
How I started my Business
I grew up in Eastlands, Nairobi and life was not easy by any imagination.
I could not afford quality and fancy make-up when I came of age. This was common among my peers as well. So I decided that one day I would be the one to create a make-up line that was luxurious; of the highest quality and affordable.
I wanted and still want so badly to bridge the gap between the haves and the have nots in our society. So with my savings, I embarked on extensive research, partnered with credible partners and Koxie Beauty was born.
Range of Products at Koxie Beauty
Koxie Beauty products range from Lip glosses which were our flagship products, Lipsticks, beauty blenders, makeup brushes and eye lashes. The Lip glosses and lipsticks are suitable for and effortlessly compliment all skin tones.
Achievements & Challenges
So far, Koxie Beauty has been very well received in the market with over 90% return sales.
Considering we launched around the world pandemic mark and mask mandates, we are quite happy with this progress. As far as challenges, breaking new ground has been our greatest challenge so far, but with adequate market research and continual branding we are making commendable progress.
How we stay ahead in the game
I believe that in life, we are our greatest competition.
However, must realise that to beat the odds we have to keep abreast with current market practices, take in feedback directly from our clients and reinvent where necessary to make desirable progress.
Lessons learnt on Managing people
Have a clear vision and mission statement as this is the compass that dictates the objectives and values of the business. Additionally, we do our best to the right team that is focused and driven. This is critical to the growth and prosperity of the business.
Business Financing in Kenya
Businesses would greatly benefit from a business financing from local banks at reduced rates and more friendly terms. As far as investor financing, most entrepreneurs do not have adequate information about access and channels of pitching the business to potential investors.
My greatest fear is regret itself.
So I try to live in such a way that I eliminate distractions from my everyday life as much as possible to allow my focus and attention towards what matters most to me and my work. The desire to deliver quality and make my clients happy help to keep me focused on the goal rather than living in fear of regret.
What I do for leisure
I enjoy travelling and discovering new places with my family. I also enjoy a good book. For anyone who loves to read, I would recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Advise to a young person starting out in business
Trust your gut and make research your friend. Start on developing your idea and learn as you go.
I am also a YouTuber. My channel is a lifestyle channel where I vlog travel destinations, food recipes and share business tips. Please subscribe to my channel: Koxie Njeri