× Digital News Videos Health & Science Opinion Education Columnists Lifestyle Cartoons Moi Cabinets Kibaki Cabinets Arts & Culture Gender Podcasts E-Paper Tributes Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
×
VAS

Queen of Beauty and Hair

EVE WOMAN
By - Njoki Chege | December 2nd 2012
Nancy Wettstein, former proprietor of Pivot Point-Kenya and owner of Urembo Hair
and Beauty

Nancy Wettstein, 56, former proprietor of Pivot Point-Kenya and owner of Urembo Hair and Beauty Salon has come a long way from being a naïve, young entrepreneur to a polished and accomplished business mogul. She spoke to Njoki Chege

At her age, Nancy is breathtaking; a well-heeled woman donning brightly coloured and well-pressed chiffon suits, perfectly made-up face and an aura of elegance.

She comes into the interview 20 minutes past our 2.30pm appointment, but she is forgiven the moment she steps into the room. The wait was worth it (she was doing her hair and make-up), and the end result is a well-polished businesswoman, whose journey in the hair and beauty industr y began in 1978.

“I was only 22 years old,” Nancy says, in retrospect. “I left Kenya for the UK to study hair and beauty. Many people thought I was crazy, but I had a dream. I wanted to revolutionise the  industry.

Before I left, I promised my mother that I would make her proud and she would not regret investing in me.”

Crazy idea

Young and sassy, Nancy spent the next eight months at the Alan International School of Hair Design, and later the Christine Shaw College for a Diploma in Beauty and Therapy

Then, Nancy recalls, hairdressing was deemed a waste of money and time. Studying hair and beauty was regarded meaningless and starting a business outfit was a crazy idea.

“Despite this, my mother believed in my dream and gave me a cool Sh300,000, which was big money in 1979. I set up my first salon at Maendeleo House in Nairobi,” says Nancy. Having the starting capital was the easy part, Nancy notes.

The hard part was convincing the property owners that she (a shy 23- year-old) was worth the 2,000 square feet office space, and not a team of doctors who wanted the same space. Second, Nancy had to explain to the bank where, she got the huge amount of money.

“When things got tough, I sought the help of Jane Kiano, who helped me convince the property owners that I was serious in my undertaking. I finally got the space and started my business,” says Nancy.

She operated a Then, Nancy recalls, hairdressing was deemed a waste of money and time. Studying hair and beauty was regarded meaningless and starting a business outfit was a crazy idea.

“Despite this, my mother believed in my dream and gave me a cool Sh300,000, which was big money in 1979. I set up my first salon at Maendeleo House in Nairobi,” says Nancy.

Having the starting capital was the easy part, Nancy notes. The hard part was convincing the property owners that she (a shy 23- year-old) was worth the 2,000 square feet office space, and not a team of doctors who wanted the same space.

Second, Nancy had to explain to the bank where, she got the huge amount of money. “When things got tough, I sought the help of Jane Kiano, who helped me convince the property owners

that I was serious in my undertaking. I finally got the space and started my business,” says Nancy.

She operated a beauty colleges in the country, all of which Nancy credits to hard work and passion. Says she: “Life has also taught me the value of hard work; I am an early riser. From the first days of my salon,  I would wake up at 4.30pm, exercise and prepare myself, and by quarter to six, I was in my salon, waiting for clients.” Young women in business, Nancy knows, have more on their plate than other entrepreneurs.

In spite of this, Nancy advises them to keep fighting. “I have learnt the value of independence and having your own money. It is liberating and gives you a voice,” she says. But one of the biggest setbacks in the hair and beauty industry, Nancy reveals, is the lack of high standards, particularly when it comes to the syllabus used by many beauty schoolsin the country.

“It is sad that young professional in the hair and beauty industry are taught using an archaic syllabus. There is need to raise the standards of hairdressers in our country and inject some professionalism in the industry,” she says.

Lucrative industry

These standards, Nancy notes, are necessary for an industry that is raking in billions. “I think that if we also had

government support, more people would reap from the industry because it has a lot of potential,” she says.

Successful as Pivot Point-Kenya has been, this year, Nancy decided to close shop. Why? “I did not renew the license

because I wanted to give myself a breather and concentrate on my consultancy on hair and beauty,” she says.

This move, Nancy believes, will not only reduce her workload, but also give her an opportunity to sit back, relax, spend more time with family as she ponders her next

move. “Running Pivot Point has been the most fulfilling experience in my life. It gave me pleasure to see a young person walk in here and leave a confident, well-groomed and wellinformed person; and call me years later to tell me how well they are doing,” Nancy says


 

Share this story
Regional nature of our politics unfortunate but unavoidable
The other day, I received a message which was widely circulated to Kenyan bloggers where a reader gave me as an example of how hypocritical Kenyan politicians can be.
Opening Ceremony: Kenya takes her pride of place as 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games begin
Team Kenya Paralympics strolled majestically into the Tokyo Olympic Stadium led by captain Rodgers Kiprop and Powerlifter Hellen Wawira for the Openin

.
RECOMMENDED NEWS

.
OPEN JOB VACANCIES IN KENYA

;