Tony Airo, a famed Nairobi hair stylist and make-up artist began by making a perfume for his mother.
Mixing different oils to get different scents, he made small samples which he handed out to a few people for free.
“My mother used to tell me how a friend’s perfume smelt nice. As much as I wanted to buy for her five bottles of designer perfumes when I travelled, I was not able to afford it,” he says.
He decided to start researching on how to create a scent. He bought different oils and mixed them up.
“After giving them to people, I asked them to give me feedback on the perfume,” he says.
After the positive feedback, in January he started manufacturing 70 millilitres (ml) bottles of perfumes locally. He later launched four brands—Warachi – Spark, Attraction, Cool and Active.
However, Cool and Active did not perform well and he stop producing it and focused on the other two that were his bestsellers.
Although, it has not been easy penetrating the perfumery market with has designer brands and cheaper counterfeits manufactured abroad, he says the take-up has been good.
Over the last 10 years, the perfumery market has grown attracting shops such as Madora and improvement from other retailers like Lintons, Fragrance Lounge and Petals among others.
Since Tony introduced his perfumes in the market, he has sold 4,000 bottles. He credits social media marketing, word of mouth and referrals for the relatively good sales.
“I am very proud to say that Warachi perfume is made in Kenya, and I don’t feel ashamed to say it. I go to stockists to ask them to sell my product and when they hear ‘made in Kenya’ they say that they will call me back but they never do,” he says.
He, however, says he believes there is a market for everything.
‘‘I am here to cater for the people who also want to smell nice but cannot afford a Sh10,000 designer perfume,” he says.
A 70ml bottle of Warachi Spark or Attraction retails at Sh1,000, a price that has led to some of his clients expressing their suspicion considering that most design perfumes are pricey.
He says some people go for a known perfume brand which is pricey rather than choosing something that works for them.
Tony’s perfumes are being sold at Best Lady shops, one of beauty products company ranked among top taxpayers in Kenya and at Carrefour supermarket in Karen.
Warachi is produced locally same as his hair care products range which include children’s shampoo, spray, gel and oils.