For years, beauty companies have enjoyed good times earning billions of shillings from the sale of skin care, perfumes, and makeup products as people looked for near-perfect looks, but not anymore. Staying at home has caused many people to change their makeup, hair-care, and skin-care routines
Yves Rocher, a French makeup brand that opened four stores in Nairobi a few years ago says Covid-19 has hit the beauty business hard.
“But this is the reality of the business and our response is what is important,” says Maryanne Mungai, the Yves Rocher’s brand manager.
Like other brands, Yves Rocher has recorded a decline in the sale of products associated with ‘going out’ such as makeup and fragrances. But demand for skincare treatments has not gone down. “Our loyal customers are still investing in skin self-care routines. Social distancing doesn't stop acne or wrinkle formation, unfortunately,” says Maryanne, adding that the pandemic has come with a lot of stress and anxiety, which harms the skin.
“We're seeing customers buy more products and treatments that support self-care and relaxation,”she adds.
To cater to clients, Yves which was not aggressive online and relied on physical visits is now organising deliveries with orders made on Facebook messenger and WhatsApp.
About 15 percent of their sales now originate online.
With all of their products coming from France, they say the ban on flights has not hugely affected their product delivery.
“Fortunately, we have sufficient stock in our warehouse, as our European partners gave us advanced notice before flights were cancelled,” Maryanne says.
Makeup artistes are also feeling the pinch of Covid-19 especially because the art of applying makeup tends to break social distancing rule.
Before the pandemic, Jennifer Mshai, a makeup artist and instructor at Mshymakeup, had a steady stream of clients.
“So far I’ve taken only three bookings ever since the first Covid-19 case was announced. To be honest, doing their makeup was quite scary because I'm in direct contact with clients,” she says.
Cancelled weddings, parties, photoshoots, and reduced one-on-one classes mean less income for Jennifer and as such, she has been forced to think of alternative ways to keep her business going.
“I've been offering makeup lessons via Zoom,” she says.
Not many people have shown interest.
“Over the past two weeks, I've taught only four students. During ordinary times, they were 10 to 15 students looking to learn the art of makeup application,” she says
An optimist, Maryanne says “we shall overcome this crisis and people will want to celebrate and look good. I’ve therefore been sharing tutorial videos with my customers with tips on how to maintain their natural skin.”
The beauty business may have slowed down but has gifted Maryanne with a new business idea.
“I’ve been thinking about creating a makeup line. This period is giving me time to think and do proper research. Hopefully, we can start actualising it after Covid-19,” she says.