Mary Atieno is one of those people you meet and you instantly catch her enthusiasm. You can tell she loves people, and loves to laugh, qualities that are necessary in the beauty sector.
Like most young people after high school, Mary signed up for a course in sales and marketing with ambitions of working as a career marketer.
She worked in various companies including Flomar and other beauty shops in Nairobi. But all this time, Mary’s passion for make-up was bubbling under. And so like many Kenyans, she started doing make-up on the side, after work hours.
“After 5 years, I quit formal employment to pursue my passion. You can wake me up any time and I will do make-up. That’s what I love doing, with or without financial benefits,” says Mary.
It hasn’t been easy though. An ex dropped off from a relationship because of her career choice and she got some not so encouraging comments, from friends and family.
However that did not deter her from her dream. Mary says she spent hours on YouTube learning about different brushes, masks, eyeliners and styles.
Now, she says, people are starting to appreciate the beauty and make-up industry.
Weddings, by far, bring the lion’s share of clients for Mary. She charges Sh5000 per bride, Sh2000 for each maid plus a retainer of Sh3000 if she stays with the bridal team for the day. On average she makes Sh20,000 on weekends.
In addition to Facebook (Make up by Mary) posts and videos, she has a branded bag where she keeps her tools of trade. The bag, which has her cell phone stitched on it, has got her a few random jobs.
Parting shot: follow your passion and stand out from the rest. Be unique.