Nigerian entrepreneur enters Kenya’s cosmetics market


The Kenyan beauty and cosmetics industry is dominated by local firms and multinationals like Unilever, L’Oreal, and Proctor and Gamble. PHOTO | FILE

Nigerian entrepreneur Tara Fela-Durotoy who was named among Forbes Magazine’s “20 Young Power African Women” for 2013 has entered Kenya’s beauty industry through her cosmetics line, House of Tara International.

House of Tara plans to sell in the Kenyan market its colour cosmetics and make-up products and accessories like brushes, bags and boxes.

The Nigerian businesswoman will be entering the highly competitive local beauty and cosmetics industry that is dominated by local firms and multinationals like Unilever, L’Oreal, and Proctor and Gamble.

The company will be banking on its Nigerian roots to appeal to customers who prefer beauty products that are manufactured by firms targeting the African woman.

“We feel the Kenyan market is very important to us. It is growing by five per cent every year and the multinationals are already here and of course the local brands like Suzie Beauty. But I feel the market is still (under-served) to a large extent because the Kenyan consumer is not exploring cosmetics. There are so many who do not wear make-up,” said Ms Tara Fela-Durotoy in an interview on Thursday in Nairobi.

She said that the more brands there are in the market the more possibilities for target customers to use make-up. Like Suzie Beauty, House of Tara’s focus is colour cosmetic.

According to the Euromonitor International, the Kenyan colour cosmetics market is worth Sh5.4 billion ($59.8 million) and is projected to grow to Sh6.6 billion ($73.7 million) by 2018.

In the combined three East African countries; Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, is worth Sh13.6 billion ($152 million) and is projected to grow to Sh20.8 billion ($231 million) by 2018.

Ms Fela-Durotoy, a Nigerian make-up artist and lawyer, started the House of Tara in 1998. It is seen as a pioneer in the bridal make-up profession in Nigeria.

She later launched the first bridal directory in 1999, set up international standard make-up studios and established the first make-up school in Nigeria.

“As a make-up artist I was working with women on a day-to-day basis, so I was seeing the international brands I was using. I was identifying the gaps to fill with products and those gaps still exist,” she said.