Kevin Nteele, 29, is a microblading and ombre brow shading artist in Nairobi. Microblading is a procedure done on eyebrows to mimic hair strokes. However, unlike the ombre brow trend which entails a shading of the eyelashes that is lighter at the front and darker at the tail, microblading is a temporary procedure which is not meant to last long although it has more touchups.
There are also clients who get interested in both procedures commonly known as a combo. For combo, from centre to tail is ombre while centre to the front of the eyelashes is microblading.
Nteele, an IT consultant, has always been passionate about beauty. This is what motivated him to start the business in 2020.
“I used to see ladies draw all types of funny eyebrow designs, some higher than the other, others thicker and others darker, so I thought it would be nice to bring out a nice uniformity when it comes to helping ladies save time on eyebrows,” Nteele told City Biz.
He also attests to have been motivated into the trade by his sister, also a certified microblading and sisterlocks consultant. She taught him how to do microblading and ombre brow shading and gave him the credit. She also encouraged and supported him to succeed in the business, he says. He looked up to her as his role model.
Nteele’s clients mainly consist of ladies who are looking to make their eyelashes elegant. “Most of my clients are those who are tired of drawing eyebrows every now and then. They all want a nicely defined, long-lasting pair of eyebrows... some love the dramatic look, while some are reserved.”
On normal occasions, Nteele charges Sh20,000 for the services but once in a while, especially during holidays, he gives out discounted offers.
The Nairobi-based businessman has a central location which he uses to serve his clients. He also makes house calls for clients who need privacy.
Other than Nairobi, he has been able to traverse the country, thanks to the high demands of his services. Some of the places where his clients are located include Kisumu, Mombasa, Embu, and Namanga.
On a good month, Nteele is able to serve between 12-30 clients and approximately between three to seven clients in a week. However, like many other businesses, he also has peak and off-peak seasons.
“Some weeks and months are nice while others can be tough in terms of performance. Specifically, back-to-school days are not quite favourable for us because many parents have to prioritise matters to do with fees and other school obligations other than their beauty,” he said.
Nteele added that depending on the business prospects, he can make about Sh20,000 a week and maybe Sh80,000 a month when other expenses are excluded.
He said for one to succeed in this business, there are many factors involved. For instance, you need to cultivate patience, learn how to express yourself to potential clients, how to strike a rapport with the clients and be approachable, as well as your artistic ability and accuracy.
For now, Nteele is planning to up his game even more so he can attract more clients. “I got to learn and improve on my photography work, and I am also learning other beauty procedures such as scalp micropigmentation (for hairline and baldness), make-up, and fictional artistry which I believe will come in handy in the beauty industry in general,” says Nteele.
One of the factors that made him successful in this industry is that women tend to prefer male beauticians.
The reason for this, as he observes, is that they believe the opposite sex has a tendency of being gentle.
However, there are ladies who don’t mind a lady beautician though. He said there are many prospects around the beauty business. “For those who are passionate about beauty, artistry and photography, and a desire to bring out the best in your client, then you have a big chance to grow financially,” the businessman said.
The greatest challenge in this trade and beauty industry, in general, is the need to keep up with new trends. Nteele says the earlier you execute a new idea, the better chance you stand in acquiring new clients.
However, there is a tendency for Kenyans to take time before accepting and acknowledging new ideas.
As such, most of the ideas start from abroad and take time before picking up in the country.
Nteele manages to reach new customers through referrals and extensive use of social media.
“Most of my clients have been referred to me by previous clients who loved my services. On social media, I use Facebook, Instagram and TikTok as my main advertising platforms. I have joined numerous Whatsapp and Facebook groups where I share my posters targeting potential clients.”