Hellen Katooko Mwendya is a young entrepreneur, who is venturing in different businesses like transportation and the cosmetics industry.
Being passionate about beauty, she has for now centered herself to being a makeup artist. She derives satisfaction and joy through catering and changing customers’ appearances. She believes this artistic talent helps her give her customers confidence, spirit and pride when she creates a particular look on their faces.
She started this venture in 2017 and is glad to share her journey with Catherine Male.
Mwendya started by freelancing and making face beats on her close friends and family.
“Hailing from a family of eight girls, my sisters would pay me to do their makeup on different occasions. They took a chance on me and ripened my already existing passion for beauty, when they let me make them up on at small costs,” Mwendya says.
She was juggling school, work and considered the makeup as a side business, which at first was like a leisure activity.
She later got determined and to her luck, she was financially supported by her sister and father who gave her Shs1.5 million to purchase makeup items.
With more stock came more clients. Her friends greatly supported and referred more clients to her. Within a short period, she was getting bridal bookings.
In June 2020, Mwendya quit her office job and fully took on makeup as a career. At first, this decision did not settle well with her father, but he later came to terms with it and gave her full support.
“I needed my parents’ blessing so I finally opened up to my father and told him I wanted to quit formal employment. He was a little disturbed, but put that behind him and gave me more capital to invest in my new line of work,” says Mwendya, excited.
The young beauty entrepreneur wishes she had gone all out with her dream as a makeup artist instead of freelancing at the start because the economy was better then, and the makeup industry was just growing. Currently, however, there is stiff competition in this business.
She emphasises social capital is her big asset and she does not take any single person’s support for granted because it is through them that she gets more clients.
Besides her family, her friends have also been very supportive.
Irrespective of the general economic crisis because of the pandemic, she is determined to grow herself and her career.
Mode of operation
Mwendya has a makeup studio located in Nakasero, Kampala, but is also mobile for clients who would like to be worked on in their own spaces.
She currently works with one other artist, whom she calls on when she has big bookings or appointments.
She charges between Shs 40,000 and Shs 80,000, depending on the kind of face beats clients choose.
She is currently using social media platforms especially Instagram to market her brand.
“Besides financial and mental growth, I have also acquired a network of clients at all levels.
Mwendya does not downplay the brides she has made beautiful and elegant because a beautiful bride attracts positive reviews and more clients.
She is also currently undergoing training in cosmetology to broaden her skills and grow her brand.
She is positive that she will achieve more with this business and her training in cosmetology, hoping to train other people in this field.
She says authentic makeup is so expensive and so is finding. Mwendya is also challenged by the tight competition in the makeup industry.
Mwendya plans to cast her net wider and start working on grooming men, too.
She hopes by the end of her training, she will have acquired all the skills she needs to do unisex grooming and provide employment to fellow youth while at it.
“I do not know what the future holds, but I am certain that my career is going to be extremely rewarding. The fact that I am already doing something that I like gives me the joy that keeps me positive,” says Mwendya.
Once her makeup career gains momentum, she plans to expand her transportation business that she co-owns with her sister.