The beauty industry in Kenya is estimated at 100 billion shillings. It is an industry that is growing at a rate of almost 400% per year. As evidence of the growth of the sector, many foreign investors have established a presence in the Kenyan market.
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty entered the Kenyan market this year. A few days after the launch of Fenty, L’oreal, a global beauty products chain, launched a flagship product in Kenya.
The 2013 acquisition of Interconsumer Products Limited by L’Oreal also defined the growing interest in the Kenyan beauty market.
Such investments and transactions increase incomes and create jobs.
The Kenyan beauty market includes beauty schools, salons, hair salons, spas, retailers, distributors and manufacturers.
Although there are a few foreign global brands with manufacturing lines in Kenya, many of them operate through distributors and import models. They partner with local businesses that stock their wares. Many foreign brands have this arrangement with local distributors.
I also think that franchising has great potential as a means of entering the market, especially in services. I look forward to the launch of franchise agreements between high-end global salons or spas with locals. This will give the Kenyan market local access to high-end global spas.
Besides concessions, there are retailers that stock global and local brands. Retailers do not have an agreement with the owners of the brands, but sell the brands based on market demand for profit.
Some brands locally manufacture cosmetics and beauty products, including manufacturers of artificial hair extensions. Many of them have manufacturing plants in Kenya.
There is a rise of Kenyan beauty brands, boosting the cottage industry in the beauty sector.
However, this market requires stricter regulation. Although the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has issued some regulations on cosmetic standards, these are not enough to meet the growing regulatory need, partly with the flourishing growth.
There are no set professional standards to protect consumers from quacks. The idea is to have a professional body that licenses beauty practitioners in different categories.
Consumer welfare is threatened by substandard and counterfeit products. Although there is the Consumer Protection Act, there should be a law that criminalizes the sale of harmful beauty products. Consumers have been harmed by dangerous goods, for example inferior whitening products.
The government loses a lot of revenue because of illegal imports. This should change to bring sanity.
Intellectual property infringement is rampant in the industry where unscrupulous marketers seek to cash in on the goodwill of established brands. Intellectual property laws are sufficient to handle this. I handled a case where a global hair brand had 25 of its brands violated locally!
A law would streamline the industry for the public good and raise billions in revenue by criminalizing certain offenses.