Many women in Africa are embracing natural African kinky hair. Unlike about 10 years ago, more women on the continent are either combing out their afros or wearing hair extensions or weaves.
For some like Veronica Nyabuto- a wig will do just fine. Nyabuto is the owner and creator of Verushka Wigs- a purveyor of full lace and lace front wigs.
“The idea was called forth to fill a void I personally experienced in the hair extensions space. It all started when I chanced upon a YouTube video of an African American personality reviewing a wig she had bought online and I could not believe how flawless her wig looked, says Nyabuto.”
“At the time I had gone natural and instantly realized that a wig customized in this manner would offer quick and easy protective style solution, on condition that it was well customized. I then started making the wigs myself with hair I had imported from India.”
Nyabuto has a business administration degree in Economics and Political Science and a minor in Sociology from The University of Nairobi. She worked in banking and a private equity firm. She however left formal employment to set up the brand with capital of 20,000 shillings ($200) in 2016.
“I was not sure what was in store for me but I was very unsettled and just decided to take a risk and jump. It is only when I jumped that the entrepreneur in me was born. I literally cannot stop moving. I now know that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.”
“When I could not keep up with the demand and orders, I knew it was time to scale. Making the wigs using bundles and closures/frontals was too time consuming and labor intensive. In addition, these “home-made” wigs were hot, bumpy and heavy plus it limited my creativity. I needed to pick up the pace. I needed to be able innovate and re-create different looks seamlessly. I stopped doing door to door deliveries and initially used my house to test how the market would respond to a physical location. So my house doubled up as a store,” says a very excited Nyabuto.
“And the clients came. And kept coming. As the demand grew, I knew the only way to scale up my business was to stop making them by hand and have them made, professionally,” says the entrepreneur who markets her products through social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, and referrals by clients.
She set up meetings and flew out to Asia to have discussions with several factory owners who she has since partnered with to create the wigs.
Nyabuto picks everything from the type of hair to be used on the wigs, density, color, cut, style and even the type of lace that is used.
“Initially we started sourcing our hair directly from India as this is what is readily available in the market and India being the largest exporters and retailer of raw human hair material. We have since however transitioned to ethically sourcing our raw hair material from Cambodia. We shall also soon include Vietnamese and Filipino raw hair material. Our wig are priced from 30,000 Kenya shillings ($300) upwards.”
Nyabuto’s goal is to provide women with the quality hair that feels, looks and sits exactly as if it were their own hair. She believes hair is one of the most important way to express an individual’s personality.
“We provide a comprehensive consultative service that educates our clients on image and lifestyle choices associated with hair management, a service that resonates with our target market.”