Mikyaj, meaning makeup in French/Arabic, founder and proprietor Manaal Jamal got bitten by the entrepreneurship bug while working as a banker in one of the local banks in Kenya. It wasn’t long before she cashed in her stable job, swiftly venturing into the competitive world of beauty. She had the push and drive, thanks to the interest she had developed in beauty along the way. She easily strikes you as creative and artistic.
“Transitioning from banking to beauty wasn’t as easy as one would imagine. The switch involved enrolling for specific professional courses in make-up, and taking on the risk of knowing you won’t have a fixed income at the end of the month, which is what most people shy from when they think of starting their own business. All in all, I ‘am enthralled with what I’ am doing right now, says Manaal.
The beauty industry, estimated to be worth a tidy 20 billion shillings in Kenya is hugely segmented and highly specialized. Manaal has specialized in the make-up sector, which is currently booming worldwide. She offers her make up services for TV, weddings, events and everyday make up. Manaal has full confidence in the products she uses, and has invested in original well known top make up brands, such as MAC, Maybelline, Anastasia, Morphe to name a few, all from the States and U.K,
“The trend that is in vogue right now is sensuality. Most of my clients are expressive – much understandably so, since make-up changes and highlights the best of one’s facial features. To stay in sync with the latest trends in the market, I carry out extensive research, enroll for trainings and read certified and peer reviewed online beauty tutorials,” she adds.
Everyone wants to keep up with the latest trends. Easy availability of online classes and social media has made many people delve into the beauty and make up industry, usually at the slightest opportunity. This calls on an artist to ensure their work stands out. “Every make-up artist has their own unique touch, my growing expertise in makeup has helped me establish a stable pool of individual clients – a network that keeps growing, mainly through social meadia and referrals.”
Like any other business, starting out is tumultuous but with the right personalized but professional relationships with firm foundations, beneifts one get a good landing in this and any other industry. “My initial opportunity to work at K24 TV, opened the doors and kept me motivated in growing my career. I ‘am innovative with my handiwork, which has helped me a lot along the way”. Manaal considers hard work and not giving up through the ups and downs has aided in growing her brand.
Every makeup artist has goals of doing their art on certain personalities. Manaal looks forward to doing make up for leading local and regional artists – musicians, bloggers etc. “This is a group that is very expressive, willing to try out styles that are in vogue and they don’t compromise on quality – I give my customers value.”
In the short and medium term, Manaal’s Mikyaj plans to set up a make-up studios in the city, to cater to her growing base of clientele. “At the moment, working from home affords the flexibility that needs to come with artistry, and going to clients gives them the comfortability of getting glammed in there comfort zone.
Once one decides to re-focus their energies on self-employment, they need a lot of discipline and most importantly patience. “Success does not come overnight. Impatience breeds frustration and failure in the long run. With the right market research, attitude, conviction and patience comes triumph” Manaal adds in advice to the young upcoming entrepreneurs.
The Mikyaj founder’s drive, comes from seeing clients more confident and happy by just a simple glam make over wherever they are stepping out to. Consequently inspiring her to do even better.