Esclava Beauty on the Move.
My motivation in life is beauty and change. Even when we or our loved ones are sick, I believe that things can only get better once we choose to look good, says Grace Kinyanjui the owner of Escalava Beauty on the move.
She runs a beauty parlour on wheels. Yes, it is all in her car travelling from one point to the other and taking beauty to her customer’s doorsteps. But what is also unique about her business is that she visits hospitals and provides beauty services to patients.
“When you look good, you feel good, and this helps you recover even faster than when you are feeling sorry for yourself, it lifts your spirit — an aspect that is important for healing,” says Ms Kinyanjui.
Esclava, her company name, is a Spanish word that means slave, and as she puts it, she enjoys going that extra mile to meet her customers at a place of their choice.
She had toyed with her idea for a while until January this year when she decided to make her debut in the business.
“It started when I went visiting my grandfather at the hospital and I saw how long his nails were, so the next day, I brought a nail cutter and a file and did his nails. This made him happy and I felt good that I put a smile on his face,” she recalls.
Unknown to her, this would become a business idea, and later see her embrace it. The beauty business is a booming speciality with cutthroat competition especially in the city.
“I took a different approach into the beauty world; I am not stationed at one point. I move to different parts of Nairobi to deliver my services,” she says, adding that there are just too many customers who prefer personalised attention to the extent that she cannot meet their needs all by herself.
Many of her customers are the high-end individuals who find it hard to go to public places, she toldMoney.
“Many of my clients are people in the limelight who prefer to get these beauty services where they do not attract too much attention, like politicians,” she said.
A statement on her Facebook page says the company has a keen interest in delivering special services to patients on hospital recovery beds as well as at home.
“Esclava believes that looking and feeling good could contribute towards the patients overall well being. Our team of trained and experienced beauticians will ensure that the patient (our customer) is professionally groomed and will not miss out on the little pleasures provided at the beauty parlour,” it reads in part.
She says she had to get training from doctors on how to handle patients without straining or administering products that may turn out to be harmful.
“For example, for a diabetic patient, we know that their wounds take long to heal so we ensure even when we do their cuticles, we are extra careful or do away with it altogether,” she notes adding, “When I visits hospitals, I alert the doctor who in turn ensures I am accompanied by nurses who help me handle the patients as I make their faces, nails and so on.”
She also offers advises patients at the hospital on how to keep their hair healthy.
“I always recommend braids for those who are bedridden, I advise them not to use weaves. Braids are the best choice for a patient because then there would not be any need for them to comb his/her hair every morning,” she says.
Her products range from haircuts, braiding, waxing, manicure, pedicure, facials among others with prices ranging from Sh500 for children haircut to 2,500 for body scrubs depending on the part of the city the customer is located.
Most of her customers are women, she says, with a few men opting to get haircut or manicure.
Just like any other business, her enterprise also encounters challenges.
“Sometimes traffic can make things a bit slow for me especially when I am meeting a client who is about to catch a flight,” she says.
The fear of the unknown is also a big hurdle. Ms Kinyanjui, a mother of a 14-year-old son, notes that the fact that in her business a deal is struck after making a simple phone call makes it scary especially when she does not know whom she is going to meet.
At other times, customers fail to give the correct directions and therefore she ends up spending a lot of time figuring out where she is meant to go.
Being a business on wheels, fuel consumption takes a toll on her too pushing her to increase the cost of her services especially to clients living in the outskirts of the city.
Currently she operates on just one car but in future Ms Kinyanjui hopes to buy a fleet of cars and employ several people apart from the six who work with her.