How To Start a Successful Cosmetic Business In Kenya In 2024

With more women in the country embracing the use of beauty and personal care products, the cosmetic business in Kenya is booming, garnering massive profits. 

So, what do you need to open a cosmetic business?

You need an initial capital of between Kshs 100,000 and Kshs 500,000 to open a cosmetic business in Kenya. This will earn you a profit margin of 40%, translating into an average monthly return of Kshs 40,000.

Did you know that the beauty industry in Kenya has a market value of Kshs 20 billion? This is proof that investing in the cosmetics business is highly profitable. However, you have to do it right to enjoy these massive benefits.

In this piece, you will learn:

  • What cosmetic business entails
  • How to establish a cosmetic business
  • Tips to realizing success  in the cosmetic business
Cosmetic business in Kenya

Let’s dive in!

What’s a Cosmetic Business?

Makeup products in a cosmetic shop

A cosmetic shop deals in a wide range of beauty and personal care products depending on customers’ needs. Below are some of the common items you’ll find in this business

Hair Products

This selection covers items such as

  • Hair oils
  • Shampoos and conditioners
  • Har treatments
  • Accessories such as hairbands and pins
  • Styling products like gel

Skin Care Products

This niche specializes in products such as

  • Face masks
  • Serums and treatments
  • Cleansers
  • Moisturizers
  • Toners
  • Eye creams
  • Lip balms
  • Sunscreens 

Makeup Products

The makeup section has the following products

  • Foundation
  • Makeup brushes
  • Eyeiners and eyeshadows
  • Concealer
  • Blushes
  • Mascara
  • lipsticks

Fragrance Products

Fragrance products include the following

  • Scented body oils and lotions
  • Body sprays
  • Perfumes 

Nail Care Products

In the nail care section, you’ll find items like 

  • Nail polish
  • Stickons nails
  • Nail treatment supplies
  • Nail accessories
  • Nail polish remover

When purchasing your first stock, consider your customers’ needs and preferences. Also, ensure you choose fast-moving products in your location.

Step-By-Step Guide To Establishing a Cosmetic Business in Kenya

Two customers moving along the cosmetic displays

Starting a cosmetic business in Kenya for the first time? Here is a detailed process to help you open a beauty products business

Step 1. Write a Business Plan

A good business plan involves researching and evaluating different factors to outline a detailed plan for your start-up. Some of the key things it articulates include the following:

  • The initial capital
  • The variety of cosmetic products to be sold
  • The advantages and disadvantages of the cosmetic business
  • Your target audience
  • The business location
  • The related risks and how you should minimize them
  • The business objectives

This document helps you start your entrepreneurship journey right. Moreover, it provides you with different strategies you will apply to realize your business goals.

Step 2. Secure Legal Documents

Although profitable, the cosmetic business in Kenya has its legal demands. You must get all the required certificates and approval documents before you start operating your retail premises. Below are the documents you must apply for 

  • Business Registration: To start running your retail business, register your business on eCitizen. Ensure you choose the right category: sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited company, spending on the relevant option.
  • Business Permit: You will then apply for a business permit at your local county authority’s office. Usually, takes an average of two weeks to be processed.
  • Health and Safety Permits: Since you’re dealing with body, skin, or hair-related products, you must possess a health and safety certificate proving they are harmless to consumers.
  • Product Registration and Certification: A lot of fake products are making rounds, and some of them are harmful. This certificate is to show that you’re selling original products.

Step 3. Connect With Reliable Suppliers

Now that you have the primary elements of your business, you should link with reliable suppliers in the market. You can easily connect with such businesspersons through conferences, seminars, and online.

Compare the prices, experience in the industry, and reviews from past customers. This will give you insight into whether they’ve maintained the product’s quality, a good legal reputation, and constant supply.

Step 4. Hire Experienced Employees

Who will be running your business?

The person operating your cosmetic business should be familiar with the different beauty products. This way, they can easily get what the client says without consuming much time. 

Moreover, having a mastery of the products will help them recommend suitable solutions to clients. Hence, you will build trust, creating a good customer base for your venture. 

Step 5. Set Up Your Shop

When researching and preparing a business plan, one of the main elements you choose is the location. Depending on the region you choose, get an affordable rental space with high foot traffic next to malls or learning institutions.

This will help you increase your business visibility and attract a lot of clients. Then, set up your shop by fixing shelves, counters, and display spaces. You can also hire an artist to write your business name on the premises.

Step 6. Purchase Your First Stock

From the research you did earlier, you can refer to the business plan details of your first stock list. Typically, when buying the first stock, you should purchase fast-moving items and those in high demand within your region(unless you’re operating online, covering a wider location like countrywide).

Once you get your first stock, organize it appropriately for the best display. This will also facilitate easy retrieval by your employees when selling to your customers.

Also Read:

Tips To Build a Successful Cosmetic Business In Kenya

A cosmetic consultant attending to a customer

Numerous people start cosmetic businesses in Kenya; some succeed while some close down. 

Want to know the secret? Here are pro tips to give you a competitive advantage over your business rivals

Tip 1. Implement an Effective Marketing Strategy

Where does your target audience like chilling?

Is it on Facebook, LinkedIn, or evening TV shows? 

When you identify where your prospective customers are, you can create an advertisement that fits the channel to expand your reach. In addition, you should identify the age group of your prospective audience and develop a relevant marketing campaign that will appeal to them.

If you don’t know where to start regarding marketing, don’t panic. You can always find reliable marketing professionals to help you drive your business objectives!

Tip 2. Monitor Your Financial Performance

Your cash flow says a lot about your business: how much is coming in and going out. You can track and compute the profitability of your business. Failure to do this means you can be spending more than you make, failing to reach your business goals.

Thanks to technology, bookkeeping has become easy and accurate for small and large businesses. You can choose a suitable solution to work with to ensure your premise is performing well.

Tip 3. Have a Growth Strategy

Where do you see your business in the next five years?

This question sounds like a cliche. However, it should give you insight into the appropriate actions you should take to grow your business. For instance, you can have a goal to establish one or two branches in the same or different locations depending on the demand.

Alternatively, you can choose to become a supplier over time. Or even enter the manufacturing industry to create beauty products after identifying a gap in the market.

Tip 4. Offer Excellent Customer Service

Providing your clients with top-notch customer service proves to them they’re your priority. Hence, they find you a reliable businessperson and become loyal customers.

Whether stuck choosing a product for their needs or in need of a professional recommendation, they will come to your business. 

Tip 5. Sell Top-Quality Products

The beauty industry is filled with replicas and substandard products. A slight mistake to stock such items can easily breach your customer’s trust in your business. As a result, you should source for top-quality products only to maintain your brand image.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Much Do I Need To Open A Cosmetic Business In Kenya?

A cosmetic’s initial capital varies depending on the location, variety of products, and size of the premise. However, you can expect to spend between Kshs 100,000 and Kshs 500,000 to set up your shop.

2. Which Are The Fastest-Moving Beauty Products In Kenya?

The fast-moving beauty products in Kenya include:

  • Hair products such as shampoo, conditioners, and treatments
  • Makeup products, including foundation, eyeliners, and concealers
  • Manicure and pedicure products
  • Accessories such as earrings, bracelets, and necklaces


Finding a profitable business idea is the first step toward accomplishing your financial goals. Fortunately, a cosmetic business in Kenya is among the most lucrative ventures you can invest in.

But you must find a suitable location, acquire legal documents, stock fast-moving products, and set up your shop to start serving your customers.

Want to explore more money-making opportunities? Visit our shop for exhaustive guides and sessions with professional insights!

Written by Alex

Written by Alex

I have passion in helping people Make, Manage, Multiply & Protect Wealth.Download my Free Guide to Financial Freedom >>[ GET IT HERE]<<