There should be more cosmetics for dark-skinned women - CNBC Africa

There should be more cosmetics for dark-skinned women

East Africa

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SuzieBeauty is Kenya’s first cosmetic range targeting African Women. PHOTO: Love Resee

Wokabi, make-up artist and founder of SuzieBeauty, fell in love with the fashion industry after seeing her sister’s glamorous life in the industry overseas.

While in the USA, she became involved in everything from accessories, apparel and eyewear but she was drawn to cosmetics.

When she moved back home to Kenya she found there wasn't much competition in the industry and quickly made a name for herself.

(READ MORE: Nigeria's booming beauty industry)

One of the biggest challenges she faced was having to source products from overseas as there were no local stores which sold cosmetics.

“I just told my husband ‘you know what I’m just going to make my own makeup this is too difficult, it’s unsustainable,” said Wokabi to CNBC Africa.

But starting her own company was more difficult than she had imagined.

“I found out very early that it would be extremely difficult to manufacture locally because none of the raw materials exist, you know the expertise and all of that so we had to go travelling and looking for contract manufactures all over the world.”

Wokabi created 32 products and launched SuzieBeauty, in 2009, with nine of them. Although she has faced many difficulties, including financing, she says keeping focused on her passion of the industry kept her going.


“I understand why 90 per cent of start-ups fail in their first year because people are copying other people because they’re looking at what other people are doing,” said Wokabi.

It took a few years for SuzieBeauty to boom and now they have stores in Kenya, Kampala, Addis Ababa and Cote d'iVoire. Soon they will launch in Nigeria and South Africa.