“I bought products worth Sh20,000 from Mary Kay. I bought skincare and basic make-up – mascara, lipstick, eyeliner – and religiously followed the cleanse-tone-moisturise regimen every morning before applying the make-up to go to work, and every evening before going to bed. I saw an immediate and tremendous transformation in my skin; even my colleagues and our guests noticed the glow. I was happy and I felt beautiful – I hadn’t felt beautiful in a long time.
“I married in December 2011 and had my daughter in May 2013. (I’d later have my son in August 2016.) Pregnancy then becoming a new mum stirred a desire in me to slow down and listen to my body. I needed to rest: I was 27 and I was tired because I’d been working since I was 20. I had missed out on my youthful days. Life had demanded I grow up too fast. The question was always: ‘What’s your next step, Sheero?’ I just couldn’t do it anymore. So while still on maternity leave, I handed in my resignation letter. I allowed myself to slow the tempo of my life and subsequently found inner peace and contentment – my relationships blossomed. “In early 2014, I entered an arrangement with an old friend who supplied kitchenware to hospitals and such; I managed our warehouse in Thika. It was a capital-intensive venture and I left the business that October without getting my return on investment. This stint taught me that business isn’t easy; you must have the patience and passion to muscle your way through the uncertainty of every season.
“I stumbled into the make-up industry purely by chance soon after. A friend called to ask if my beautician could do bridal make-up for her and her bridesmaids. I said no and the conversation ended there. Later, I thought to myself, ‘Wait, why can’t I do it for her?’ I called her back and got my first bridal client. It was surreal; I couldn’t believe that someone was willing to pay me to do their make-up!
“After this first client, I started my Facebook page – Make-up by Sheero – and took to YouTube to learn the art of applying make-up and read widely to understand skin. I practised my skills on friends. I actively uploaded before-and-after photos of my work to my social media platforms; that’s how I steadily got more clients and sustainable gigs all through 2015 to date. Growth was sometimes worrying, though, so in 2016, I took a nine-month training programme.
My target market is – and has always been – brides on a tight budget who want a professional make-up artist but can’t afford the more-established big names in the industry. I’ve invested in expanding my make-up kit slowly over time: the first investment I made was in November 2014, when we took a family vacation to Dubai. I bought a range of make-up and skincare products from brands like Bobbi Brown, Rimmel, Revlon and Body Shop. I invested Sh70,000.
“I’ve worked with different brands over the years but now I primarily use M.A.C because they’re a global make-up authority and their products are versatile with any skin type. I also work with other brands such as Clinique, Maybelline, Urban Decay and Estee Lauder. I have three assistants.
“I want my business to give back to the community. I want to teach women how to care for their skin, more so the ones with eczema or acne. I also want to sensitise the public to the dangers of using counterfeit make-up, and how to tell it apart it from the genuine stuff.”