10 Tips For Starting Cosmetics Business in Kenya

There’s something extremely satisfying about having your own cosmetics business in Kenya. That’s why I am motivated to write this article on 10 Tips For Starting Cosmetics Business in Kenya. The cosmetics industry is growing every single year here in Kenya. The demand for all types of cosmetic products is ever increasing from varied sections of Kenyan population

Cosmetics industry in Kenya includes a vast array of businesses such as anti-aging clinics, aromatherapy, beauty salon, beauty spa, cosmetic store, hair salon and even makeup artists are part of it. If you are planning to start a cosmetic business, there is an immense scope for growth, provided you proceed in a planned way.

According to marketresearch.com, the global cosmetic market is expected to garner $429.8 billion by 2024. Such statistics clearly reveal that there is plenty of business opportunities in the cosmetic industry. This also shows that your small cosmetic business can start making profit shortly.

Cosmetics Business in Kenya

Cosmetics business in Kenya has many new and established competitors in any given market. New cosmetics products are launched regularly and your business has to counter them. So, a wisely crafted marketing strategy becomes essential part of starting the business. Let’s take a look at the 10 Tips For Starting Cosmetics Business in Kenya

1. Create a Workable Plan

Have you ever asked yourself why cosmetics businesses fail?

It’s not for lack of customers. The cosmetics market in Kenya has grown every single year for the last decade – including following the COVID19 pandemic.

That means that each year there are more and more customers wanting and needing cosmetics. It therefore goes without saying that the real reason cosmetics businesses fail is the same reason as most other businesses – lack of a workable plan.

Even if you’re starting a cosmetics business from home, a business plan is so important to your success because it’s a roadmap for you to follow.

Creating a Workable business plan is challenging, yes. But it also saves you lots of time, hassle, and money down the road. By making all your decisions ahead of time, you can make sure you’re not missing anything, and really come to understand your business.

Also, if you’re going to open a cosmetics storefront, you’ll need a business plan to show banks or investors for financing.

Your cosmetics store business plan should include an overview of your business, but should also get specific.

  • What’s the mission and objectives of your store?
  • Who is your target market?
  • What is your startup cost?
  • How much do you expect to make your first year? Your second year?
  • What does your competition look like?
  • Do you have a marketing plan?

Your business should guide you in effectively running your business plan after you’ve launched your company, so do not skip over it!

2. Decide On The Location

You have the option of starting your cosmetic business from your house in your initial days. Another option is to lease a premise. Getting a premise on lease is expensive for small business owners who are starting up. A cheaper alternative is to rent space in a laboratory in town where you can test and make your cosmetic products. You need to find a location that is cheap in cost for starting your business.

Ideally, you want to set up your store in affluent areas where disposable income is high, prompting more sales from customers who can afford to look their best. However, if you’re competing on price, then perhaps you want to cater to low-budget neighborhoods as a discount beauty supply store.

3. Choose A Niche

Choose your area of specialization in which you have some experience of manufacturing or selling of cosmetic products. For example, you should know something about selling organic makeup, special effect makeup or mineral cosmetics and lip care products.

Concentrate on the area of cosmetics that you are familiar with so that you can plan your business well. Narrow down your area of cosmetics speciality or interest. Do not try to sell or manufacture too many things at the same time in the initial days of your business.

Moreover, by choosing your niche, you can concentrate on creating impressive marketing material such as designing flyers, Business cards and brochure that targets a specific set of your consumers.

4. Set a Budget

Kindly note that your budget should be part of your business plan.

You need to plan out all startup costs and recurring expenses ahead of time so that you know how much money you have to put back into your business or into your marketing campaign. If you run out of money, you can’t operate your business and have to shut down, making your budget an important tool in your business kit.

So, How much does it cost to open a cosmetics business? Well, again that depends on what type of business model you adopt.

If you intend to open a cosmetics business from home, your costs will be lower. Really, your only required costs will be the kit you buy from the cosmetics company.

But then there are recommended costs. Get yourself a website. And business cards. Print flyers, if you can. Perhaps you’d like to invest in a local magazine such as Pulse and get yourself featured? Or Facebook’s local awareness ads?

Some costs to consider when starting a cosmetics business include (in no particular order!):

  • Rent
  • Business permits
  • Insurance
  • Employees
  • Equipment
  • Supplies

You’ll have more needs, but this list should get you started.

To really understand everything, you need to go observe the most successful cosmetics business in your area and copy whatever you can from their business.

5. Decide Which Products or Service to Offer

How do you decide what products or services to offer? Well, again that depends on your business model. But it also depends on you!

What are you really great at? What do you have a passion for?

Basically, you’re asking yourself what is the Unique selling point? What can you offer that nobody else can? Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your service, maybe it’s your experience ans so on. Figure it out and create a business out of it.

Once you know what you want to sell, you need to find out what your customers want to buy. It’s far more important.
So go talk to friends, family, customers, potential customers, and even strangers on the street. Find out what they’re interested in! A simple online survey will also do.

In Kenya today, people are looking for sustainable, organic, and anti-aging products. It’s not just women looking at cosmetics anymore, but men, too.

Men now represent a huge growing market in the industry which should absolutely be focused on. Popular products include: Concealer, Skin care products, Mascara, Lipstick, Hair care, Eyeliner, Mineral cosmetics, Special effects makeup

There’s no limit to what you can find a market for. As men become more rugged, there’s even the opportunity to sell high-end beard and mustache products.

Don’t be afraid to explore, but remember to check with your potential clients first to understand if there’s a market for what you want to sell.

You can’t sell every product, or you’ll go broke simply by ordering stock. Keep in mind, many big companies have minimum orders, so when you place an order for an item, you’re anticipating being able to move every piece of your order.

6. Find Reputable Suppliers

What equipment do you need to open a cosmetics store?

An online store will only need a web designer and a wholesale cosmetics supplier. As a home-based business, you will have everything you need directly from your company, which is the biggest perk.

Research what supplies you’ll need – and where to get them from – ahead of time. This saves time and hassle down the road. Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best prices.

7. Sell Your Products Online

An effective option for starting your own cosmetics business in Kenya is to sell the products online. Most of your valued customers these days search and shop on the web. You must create an e-commerce store to sell your special cosmetics products. Selling your product online implies that you will attract the customers with the lowest possible prices.

But make sure that your eCommerce website design is memorable and user-friendly. Such a website must showcase impressive images of your cosmetics products. All the details such as descriptions of the products, ingredients, prices and contact information must be clearly mentioned. Users should be able to navigate your web pages conveniently.

8. Promote Your Cosmetics Business

Without customers, your business cannot survive. So it’s critical to promote your cosmetics business in order to bring in new and returning customers. When starting a cosmetic company or a hair salon, you must pay attention to create more awareness about your special cosmetics products among your target audience.

You should explore all the places such as events taking place in your city, and visit beauty parlors to market your company’s products. You can also think of giving some demonstrations to the consumers to highlight the qualities of your products.

Most importantly, create a dedicated social media page for your cosmetic products and fill it with many images of the products and descriptions. In fact, you should create a page on every popular social channel such as Twitter and Facebook to convey your brand message.

Engage your audience by posting interactive and useful content about the products you manufacture or sell.

9. Develop A Marketing Plan

A good marketing plan gives you a direction about how to move forward in a calculated way at the time of selling your products to the people. Your well thought of strategy regarding pricing, costs and an effective way to sell your cosmetics items will guide you during your efforts to enhance your reach in the niche market.

10. Test Your Products

Before you start selling your cosmetic products, test those unique items. Give some sample products to the people in your neighbor, relatives and friend circle. Having a practical test of the products is always desirable to know beforehand about how rest of the people and your target audience will respond.


Opening (and running) a cosmetics business in Kenya is a lot of work.

But if you do it right, it’s not only rewarding, it’s a lot of fun.

You get to be your own boss and brighten people’s lives on a daily basis!

Remember your cosmetic business must have a wise marketing plan and some funds to start with. Take advice from your family and friends. Create memorable graphic designs such as logos, business cards, websites and brochures to make a lasting impression on your potential clients and public.

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