What you need to know:
- Even after graduating with a Masters degree, Darlene Wesonga insists that running a beauty parlour is her dream job
When her parents took her to school, they wanted Darlene Wesonga to become a teacher. They committed their resources and time for her to pursue a Bachelors degree in education and later study for a Masters degree in philosophy from Moi University. She graduated in 2008.
But, all along Ms Wesonga, 32, had a different passion in her life — running a beauty parlour.
Five years down the line, Ms Wesonga does not regret not getting into formal employment, even with pressure from her parents. The proceeds from her beauty parlour, which she started a year after school have proven to be worthy.
“My parents really pushed me to look for a job after school, but with the disappointment I got scouting for a vacancy, I decided to open this beauty parlour, which has paid back,” she says.
She attributes her success to her husband of nine years, who assisted her to raise a large percentage of the initial capital to start the business.
“We settled on the idea of starting with a small place and when we saw the potential in the venture, my husband boosted me with about Sh4 million, which enabled us to move from our old shop to the current one,” she said.
After determining the nature of customers she was going to target, Ms Wesonga launched an massive recruitment drive as she needed specialists in manicure, pedicure, hairdressing, and barbers who would attract a good customer base and also help retain clients for her business to grow.
“Getting staff was tough as some people just came because we had opened new doors for jobs. We to put them on a one-week probation from which we got about six people who convinced us that we can work together,” she said.
She also had to come to terms with paying bills every month besides the initial set-up costs.
“For the start, rent payment with the few customers we had at that time almost made us give up. Our business had not stabilised and we were on several occasions forced to pay staff and foot the bills from our savings” she says.
Her beauty parlour has since grown with a staff of more than 30 employees earning between Sh7,500 and Sh30,000 a month, depending on their responsibility.
“I also earn from the same business since it forms my full-time employment as CEO,” said Ms Wesonga.
Her success is drawn from her persistence and passion to be in the world of beauty therapy and also from the positive feedback that her customers have given her.
She was nominated to the Lake Victoria Tourism Association (LVTA) as a member and feels that her contribution to promoting tourism in the western circuit has not been encouraging.
“We have been charged with the responsibility of spearheading the preparations for a beauty pageant set to be held in Kisumu next month by LVTA. These are positive developments that we are proud of as a contribution to promoting tourism in the western circuit,” she told Money.
Her services target the growing middle class.
“We serve an average of 35 people every day. This includes prominent leaders from this region and other personalities,” said Ms Wesonga.