Tighten the laws to encourage the growth of the beauty industry

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Fashion

Tighten the laws to encourage the growth of the beauty industry


A customer has her pedicure done at Beauty Room Kenya at Hurlingham in Nairobi on Tuesday November 2, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Kenya’s beauty industry is valued at Sh 100 billion. It’s an industry that’s growing at nearly 400 percent annually. As evidence of the growing sector, many foreign investors have established themselves in the Kenyan market.

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna hit the Kenyan market this year. A few days after the launch of Fenty, L’Oreal, a global cosmetics chain, launched a leading product in Kenya.

L’Oreal’s acquisition of Interconsumer Products Limited in 2013 also defined the growing interest in the Kenyan beauty market.

Such investments and deals increase income and create jobs.

The Kenyan beauty market includes beauty schools, salons, barber shops, spas, retailers, distributors and manufacturers.

While there are some foreign global brands with production lines in Kenya, many of them operate through distribution companies and import models. They work with local companies who stock their goods. Many foreign brands have this agreement with local dealers.

In addition, I see great market entry potential in franchising, especially in the service sector. I look forward to launching franchise agreements between top global salons or spas with local ones. This will give the Kenyan market access to world class global spas locally.

Aside from distributors, there are retailers that carry global and local brands. Retailers have no contract with the owners of the brands but instead sell the brands at a profit based on market demand.

Some brands make cosmetic and beauty products locally, including manufacturers of artificial hair extensions. Many of them have production facilities in Kenya.

There is a rise of Kenyan beauty brands boosting the cottage industry in the beauty sector.

Despite all this, this market requires stricter regulation. While the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has published some regulations on cosmetics standards, these are insufficient to meet the growing regulatory need, in part with burgeoning growth.

There are no defined 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 inferior and counterfeit goods. While there is consumer protection law, there should be a law criminalizing the sale of harmful beauty products. Consumers have been harmed by dangerous goods such as substandard bleach.

The government loses a lot of revenue due to illegal imports. This should change to bring some sanity.

Intellectual property infringements are rampant in the industry, where unscrupulous traders seek to bank on the goodwill of established brands. Intellectual property laws are sufficient to handle this. I worked a case where a global hair brand had infringed 25 of their trademarks locally!

A law would streamline the sector for the common good and rake in billions in revenue by criminalizing some crimes.

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