My Background:

I didn't  attend any school to learn about beauty. It is a talent and I have refined it by working with mentors.

The idea:

My journey from Meru to where I sit now is interesting and I use it every time I meet a girl for the first time to show her that the beauty industry is a jungle and you need to be fit to survive.

As a make-up artist, the human face is the only canvas at your disposal and you have to get it right always. There are no second chances here, no client would come back if you did a shoddy job.

I was born a makeup enthusiast I can say. All I know has been built from experience and tying myself to the right people- women who got there before me.

My elder sister Judy Kasue, who is a hair stylist in the United States is my first mentor but I chose beauty instead of hair.

When I was in Standard Four, my elder sister had a salon in Meru. I remember passing by her salon daily just to watch her work.

I admired her so much and wished to do what she was doing when I grew up. Even though I was young, I noticed how she transformed women. They left feeling so confident. This to me, was amazing. I wanted to follow in her footsteps.

What Happened next:

My mantra has always been to give women that extra thing -- be it confidence or satisfaction beyond powder and lipstick. If I were in this business for the beauty aspect only, I don't think I would still be here, seven years later.

I didn't have any money to buy a make-up kit. I only had passion to start my career. I remember I hired a make-up kit for Sh200 but I didn't have the cash so I had to leave my ID as security and I wasn't even paid for the job.

That didn't stop me from hawking my services. It was so hard. There were no opportunities and I had to make my own. Most of the companies I approached exploited me or just ripped me off. I remember working for a whole year without pay.

 Rose during one of her make-up sessions with some of her students

Running a start up

There are times I ended up doing odd jobs on the side to make ends meet. I sold chapatis and popcorn to make that extra coin to fund my make-up dream. I was determined to build this empire and I believe one day Make Up by Rose will be a force to reckon with in the beauty industry, locally and internationally.

Once, the imes were so lean, I went back to Meru and started selling charcoal. I did that for a year and saved then came back and went on with my hustle.

I sat down and made a serious business plan. Things turned around slowly. It has been getting better and better each day.

One thing that every woman out there must know is that Africa offers very many opportunities. There are a lot of untapped opportunities in Kenya, this is the first thing I tell all the young women who come to me seeking help.

Where I am now

Makeup by Rose is not only a make-up services business. We are "beauty with a difference" and we use our skills to change other women's lives.

Despite imparting knowledge and helping the girls launch their careers, I try as much as I can to help them get employment which is the hardest thing for most women in Kenya.

Every young woman out there wants to make ends meet. I use what I know best, make-up to help them achieve that.000

My husband has been my greatest pillar in this journey. Even though his background is in Information Technology, we run this business together.

I have also had great women who have guided me through the journey but resilience and passion has seen me this far.

Fact Box:

Launched: I don't remember the exact dates but it was in 2007.

Start-up costs: I didn't start my business with any capital. I had zero. I just figured out a way to rent a kit, left my ID and that's how I started.

Turnover: Still working out the figures

Facebook: Make-Up by ROSE

Location: View Park Towers, 16th floor, Suite 3.


Make Up by Rose;Rose Ntogondu