Image consultant who cut a career from necessity
What you need to know
Image consultants help women and men develop a skincare and grooming routine that boosts their image and enables them to get ahead.
Image and self confidence is shaped from how the skin looks, how one dresses and how they feel about their appearance.
Spa services- especially massage- relax body muscles to relieve fatigue and recharge an individual to tackle challenges.
Grooming is also a key element in how people perceive a person’s ability to handle a task and can cost a professional a job or business contract if not up to par.
When Alice Odera lived in New York, a black woman in a melting pot of races and cultures, she found it hard to find beauty products for her skin tone.
“We are not really recognised. The beauty industry is worth billions of dollars but only a little part of it is geared towards ethnic minority women,” she says.
Previously, Alice had never experienced skin problems but suddenly, “Everything I tried was reacting with my skin.
I wondered, I’m in America and there are African-American women here, why are there no products that suit our skin needs?”
That was how Alice got interested in beauty and skincare. “I got to learn what ingredients are good for us, what works for us and what does not. I went into the skin care industry out of need”.
While taking a skincare specialist course in the US, Alice wrote a paper on skin bleaching. “Through my research, I got to learn how skin cancer is on the rise especially in West Africa. How women and men are harming their bodies in pursuit of lighter skin”.
Her research coincided with a ban slapped on hydroquinone and Retinol A in the West. The manufacturers could not destroy their stock, so they had to find a place where there was no legislation tto dispose of their stock and Africa was ideal.
“I came back three years ago because the opportunity for the type of business I wanted to do was in Kenya. First, I worked for a leading FMCG company as the brand manager, the skincare category, for about two years. I left because I felt that I was not using my full potential, as rewarding and educative as employment was.
“So I decided to start my own business. I wanted to set up a state-of-the-art spa, develop a skincare line, own property and live a comfortable life.
It was a huge risk, but I knew two things, that I was capable and that if I stumbled I had enough courage to get up and keep moving”, Alice recollects.
Armed with ten years of combined experience first in banking then beauty industry in New York, she established Beauty Logic Image Management in August 2010.
“In September, I opened a spa but by April 2011 I closed it because it was not profitable. I needed to reorganise, restructure and figure out what I was doing wrong. At that time I was also a consulting with a dermatologist on treating skin problems like acne, anti-aging and hyper pigmentation”, Alice adds.
She has been on a learning curve. “My steps in doing anything include three As; Action, Attitude, Achievement. If I cannot give a concise response to either of those things at the end of the week or the month then I cancel it out.
I do not postpone decision-making or get emotional, no matter how difficult, especially when it comes to my business”, says the now astute businesswoman.
While some parts of the business picked up; the mobile outdoor spa services like manicures, massage, events like sports and product launches, Alice still continued working out of her Yaya Centre office, offering facials and treatments.
“It is this focus that made me discover that the male clients were more responsive to skin treatments than women. Men were a more consistent source of income. They make referrals if they like the results.
This is the business direction I want to take, offering services for men only”.
Alice also runs a programme called First Impressions for corporate grooming and schools, targeting high school girls. This year, she will include boys. She also holds a women’s event dubbed ‘Pretty Influential’. It was created to help women thrive in their careers, particularly the young or less experienced.
“I felt a strong need to give women a platform where they could get information to further their careers through image, spiritual health, beauty and finances.
“During my free time I also write on skincare for different local magazines in order to educate people on skin health and beauty products. The local beauty industry has grown but there is a let down on the services. Unskilled beauticians misinform clients,” Alice says.
This is one of her biggest challenges – getting people with the right skills. The other is the limiting product range, which drives up cost especially when using a professional skincare line.
Alice believes she is on the right track. She recently won the Pillar Africa Award for entrepreneur of the year 2011.