As a student in America she found a large gap in the market for black women’s makeup. The rare makeup she found was too pricey. At that time the global recession was beginning to affect America, yet the makeup industry was expanding. A new makeup brand launched at a mall she was patronizing one day and she had a eureka moment. She identified the gap in America and wondered how big it was in Kenya. She ironically found the Kenyan market lacked makeup for black women. At that time there was only one Kenyan makeup brand. Makeup was also not part of Kenyan culture. This is about 9 years ago. Things have changed partly due to her brand entering the market. Also, most Kenyan ladies aged 50 and below have embraced makeup as part of their daily beauty routines.
Nelly began researching makeup in Kenya while in America. She returned to Kenya while continuing to research the makeup market. She had no preconceived notions about the African skin makeup market and learned as she went.
Pauline cosmetics was born in 2014. It was named after Nelly’s mother as homage to her. Nelly calls her mother a warrior and inspiration for steering their family through a very difficult time. It was a painstaking process from conception to execution. She initially had trouble identifying a good manufacturer, how to ship the products to Kenya, how to ensure the sample (which was handmade) would be the same quality when mass produced and other challenges.