Agbons and I go way back, she was my bunk mate in boarding school. We have always been in touch and when I saw her flourishing makeup business, I knew I wanted to interview her. I am all about empowering other women in business. My mum has always steered us towards eventually being self employed, this is something dear to her heart because things happen, people move according to their husbands jobs, this is where self employment becomes valuable. I hope this helps anyone who has fostered a dream of starting their own business.
What sparked your interest in makeup?
When I moved to Nairobi (my husband was transferred there), I was pregnant and found myself with too much free time on my hands. I started watching YouTube makeup tutorials, and I realized makeup is Art. So I bought loads of makeup products, my first sigma brushes and practiced whenever I could.
Did you go for structured classes to get a certificate?
No, but I did attend online classes at dressyourfacelive.com which costs $19 a month.
When did you decide you were good enough to start charging for your services? How did you measure yourself and your progress?
I looked at the industry best in Kenya. And I honestly felt that I was doing as good as they were. Only problem was I was unknown. I did my research and priced my services very low, just so I could build my client base and portfolio.
That was going to be my next question. So how did you break into a brand new market being a Foreigner in a brand new city/country?
Since I knew no one. My husband gave the idea of running Facebook adverts. I’d pay my maid 500 kes ($6) so I could do her makeup and post on my page, building my social network.
I started getting phone calls from interested ladies. I did regular makeup for photoshoots e.t.c. My first bridalbridal makeup appointment was in November 2013
But I guess you had to do a lot of freebies to build up your portfolio.
Oh yes. I even organized a makeup and photography session with a photographer. The ladies would pay for their photos, but makeup would be free.
Ok. That seems like a good collaboration to get yourself out there.
Yes. I had creative freedom to do their makeup however I liked. I also used these sessions to pace myself and learn how much time it took to switch between looks on models.
So you started booking more and more brides. Where you surprised how far and wide people came to book your services?
Yes. I quickly learned that word is mouth is still a powerful tool in this industry. A satisfied client will tell everyone about you. Kenyans are big on Internet use, and like Nigerians the travel back home to wed a lot. First thing a bride to be will do is search you out on Facebook and Instagram to see samples of your work
What is the furthest you have travelled for work?
Nigeria. I travel to most places in Kenya though. And I have a booking in Tanzania next year.
What advice will you give people starting up their own make up business ?
Slowly build up your makeup kit . That way you don’t get stuck with expensive overhyped products. Expensive isn’t always best. Invest in your technique and reputation;these are the two things that will grow your business.
Three essential characteristics of a makeup artist are…..
Artistic- goes without saying that a makeup artist must know the basics of fine arts like shading, and colourcoordination. This will help you understand blending, and also help when choosing contour shades, eyeshadow, blush colours, etc.
Technique Flexibility- most times you have to relax your expectations of what the outcome of an appointment will be. Also you have to be prepared to take it up a notch artistically on short notice. So it’s good to have an idea of how to create a wide range of makeup looks
Punctuality- This is so important. The last thing you want is a client who’s unsettled and fretting because you arrived at an appointment late. You need time to bring a look together. For important shoots and weddings, there won’t be time to redo anything.
Thanks for your time and valuable advice. Do you have any YouTube videos up or online classes coming up?
I am working on shooting videos for YouTube. Online classes, maybe in the future. I have had 2 makeupmasterclasses in Nairobi, I plan to have a third before Christmas. Scheduling is a problem because most women are free to attend weekends, and those are my busiest days.
See below for some of Sunshines brides work but visit her on Instagram and Facebook for more @sunshinesbrides