IS PERFUME MAKING BUSINESS IN KENYA PROFITABLE?

Research shows that Kenyans spend over Ksh.5 billion a month buying beauty products. These include bath and shower products, cosmetics, skin care, baby care, oral care and perfume products.

Talking about perfume products, the local industry is largely dominated by foreign multinationals; which begs the question – are there not enough Kenyans who can control their own market?

There is demand for scented perfume and even if you were to sell your product at 500% mark-up it would still be cheaper than most of the big brands on the shelves today. The secret to conquering this market when you are a small investor lies in producing a high quality product that can get you intimately connected with your target market.

But what does it take to create a perfume brand that can be loved by many people? As it turns out, the underlying concept is very simple. You can even start a small “factory” in your bedroom and grow with it.

*Step One: Come Up With Your Secret Recipe*

Your recipe is your business’s secret. And how do you come up with one? The answer in simple you need to roll up your sleeves and learn. Youtube is an example of a free platform where you can learn how to create a simple perfume recipe in a matter of minutes.

Although there are many recipes being suggested out there, you only need to experiment with a few until you can find one which appeals to you so that you can make a product out of it.

*Step Two: Find Your Ingredients*

In order to create a perfume you only need three ingredients (how you mix them is what matters) – essential oils, ethanol and a fixative (optional).

Essential oils and fixatives are sold together and they are available at local fragrance shops and even on sites like Jiji.co.ke. Go for quality brands such as Ylang Ylang or ElCaptain.

As for ethanol you can find it cheaply from those companies that manufacture methylated spirit or alcohol-based products. A good place to commence your search would be Kijabe Street (Nairobi), Industrial Area (Major towns) or Athi River (Machakos).

Alternatively you can use Vodka provided it’s the odourless type. Remember, what you cannot find locally, you can always import.

*Step Three: Test Your Product*

Once you have mixed all the ingredients according to your secret recipe you will be able to develop a final sample. Keep perfecting this sample until you’re sure it is the very best you can create. You can even spray yourself with it and ask your friends for an opinion.

*Step Four: Market to a Small Market*

The secret to succeeding in this market lies in creating an intimate connection with your customers. So start by selling your product to your friends, family and close accomplices. For instance, you can offer to be refilling their spray bottles at a competitive fee.

*Step Five: Get KEBS License*

Step 4 above will help you understand your market even better and as such you will be able to improve the quality of your perfume. But before your product can be sold to the general public you will require to obtain a KEBS license. This will cost you Ksh.32,000.

*Step Six: Brand Your Product*

In order to brand your perfume, you will require two things spray bottles (glass bottles) and a label.

You can import or buy locally 1,000 bottles to start with and these will cost you Ksh.10 each so set aside Ksh.15,000. As for the labels, you only need to approach a good designer cum printer for assistance.

*Step Seven: Your Own Product*

Finally, your product is ready for the market. You have a brand, a KEBS license and an existing customer base. Now it is time to take on the big markets and swim with the big fish.

*How Much To Invest*

You will require Ksh.50,000 to get up to Step 4 after which the business can become self-sustaining.

*How Much To Expect*

This will depend on your pricing and brand positioning. But on estimation, a small entity can earn you over Ksh.100,000 per month if you do your homework.

*Final Word*

Remember that every big company you see out there started just as a small dream. Coca cola for instance only sold 25 bottles of soda during its first year of operation. KFC was started by an old retiree who was surviving on pension – but when he cooked a special chicken for his friends a global company was born.

Even those big perfumes you see out there once started as small and hopeless entities.

Its continuous marketing, persistence and consistence that keeps them going.

So don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. There is nothing that can stop you from starting your own perfume business in Kenya..

By

Justine Nyachieo
Business Man & Mentor

Timothy Angwenyi
Business Consultant

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