Due to the current job uncertainty in Kenya and the challenging economic climate, many people have had to come up with additional means of supplementing their incomes, paying their bills, and putting food on the table.
As she tells The Chamber Press, Victoria Mueni, a banker by trade, is among many who took a chance and began a cosmetics business as a side hustle. She says she is here to stay in the beauty and cosmetics sector.
What is the focus of your company?
Muva Cosmetics and Muva54Skin is a Kenyan cosmetic manufacturing company situated in the Industrial area, of Nairobi.
How much money was needed to launch the business?
I injected about Sh 1.2 million which was my savings and loan from a Sacco. At first, the venture was just my side hustle because at the time I was an employee in the banking industry and I am setting the stage to run it as a long-time side hustle.
Why did you decide to enter this usually cutthroat industry?
My daughter made me start this business. I have a 4-year-old daughter named June but we call her Luna. She was born darker than her elder brother, and I observed how people, some family members, and strangers acted around her when she was a baby. Colorism is real y’all! I then paused and said how many girls and ladies grow up thinking they are not beautiful and get severe esteem issues throughout their lives. Then, I decided to start a brand that will celebrate all types of women no matter their skin color, race, or Tribe, and remind women that they are beautiful just the way they are.
I also thought that if we created a different product from what else was out
there, made it high quality, and wrapped it in cool branding and marketing, people would just figure out how to buy it.
This was not to be as I found out that for it to flourish you need your sales, operations, and finance functions to be just as highly developed as your branding and product to be successful.
How can you describe teamwork?
After some time I realized that to make the company flourish I needed teamwork and I engaged a few employees to help push the brand forward even though I did not need a financial investor at the time since the brand was growing from its growing exposure and the team’s efforts.
Has Covid 19 hampered your operations?
Yes, Covid 19 hit us hard. People started wearing masks and not makeup let alone lipstick and to cushion this we quickly started making branded masks that flew off the shelves. We also partnered with big online stores like Jumia and Africa Sokoni to get brand visibility. We started a sportswear line that fortunately did very well during the pandemic.
Will you think about using the hustler fund to grow your company?
I will appreciate the hustler fund. However, I would like to understand how it works and how much interest I am likely to pay. Otherwise, my business is self-sufficiently running itself.
What aspect of your company are you most proud of?
Everything! Every product you see is a good story and has good energy around it! From the design to the brand font to the name, and packaging; it exudes our excellence culture. I love the fact that with skincare we are solving skin problems for our customers. The feedback we get keeps us pushing. Muva54Skin is two months old and has moved from 8 inaugural products to over 40. All these have been demanded by our customers! All I can say is it is upwards and onwards from here henceforth. And of course, God takes all the glory.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future? Where do you see this brand going?
I believe I will soon see my brand in Carrefour, Chandarana, Quickmart, Naivas, and global stores like Walmart, Target, Ulta, and Sephora, among others.