A beautician operating one of the most popular beauty salons and spas, Posh Palace, in Nairobi, Susan Kaittany is a celebrity by her own right.
A lawyer by profession, she dropped the idea of practising law for the hospitality business.
“I have always had a passion for beauty, fashion and adventure. That explains why I am the entrepreneur I am today. I used to give my parents a fashion show at home at a young age. I was quite the tomboy too,” she says.
Being a successful young entrepreneur, it is easy to think it all came on a silver platter. And it is easy to see why many might think this; she was a beauty queen, she was all over billboards and lives an enviable lavish life with a residence in the rich Karen suburb. Who talks of driving a jeep and riding horses to wind down in this hustling city if you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth?
Quite to the contrary, and unknown to many, the 36-year-old grew up in Lang’ata in an average family that could not afford the extravagant life many assume she had. Her father worked in a government office and her mother was a P3 teacher earning a salary of Sh8,000 per month. They lived in a government house.View this post on Instagram
“I went to Lang’ata West where my mother was also teaching. With nothing much to look forward to, my siblings and I had to succeed or remain miserable for the rest of our lives. Discipline in a teacher’s home was not a choice.
“I recall how we used to wake up at 4am to start reading. Mum taught us to work extra hard and make ends meet. We would sell popcorn. Still, we had to focus on classwork. As much as I was into the beauty and fashion world, I could not mention such a thing to mum, the teacher she was then. That is how I ended studying law,” she says.
But being the entrepreneur she is, Susan was never born to be a lawyer. Her love for fashion, modelling and travelling was already taking shape as she turned 18.
“I was about 18 when I started professional modelling. In 2004, I was a finalist at the Miss World Kenya beauty pageant. In 2005, I joined Miss Earth and won the title and went on to represent Kenya at the international stage,” she says.
But as much as she loved modelling, the career was not giving back much. In the country, beauty pageants were not being taken seriously and many times, models were being misused by event organisers.
“After getting back following the Miss Earth finals, I did not want anything to do with modelling. Models were paid peanuts. I remember going for a one week show in Malindi and coming back feeling misused. Luckily, I started doing commercials, which were giving me better pay,” she says.View this post on Instagram
Susan jokes how she rarely had time for campus. She refers to herself as an absentee student. She would take her international trips with clients for weeks, even months with her family having started a travel company. This was fulfilling and more experiential than staying in class.
At 20, the business was giving her wide exposure and a different perspective of the world.
Now an established entrepreneur, Susan has become a leading name in the hair business. She says it takes determination to start off a business. A business idea, she says, is like a merger of the passions that one has in life.
Recently, she launched a new fragrance, Polished by Posh Palace in a star-studded red carpet event held at the store’s location at The Argwings Arcade along Argwings Kodhek Road.
“We have been working on this project for a while now and I am happy it has finally become a success,” she told the guests.