Meet Irene Kieru, lady connecting clients with beauty care professionals

The AfroUrembo founder connects clients with beauty care professionals at the comfort of their phones.

In Summary

• She describes the app as a marketplace connecting clients with beauty care professionals.

• AfroUrembo is a booking mobile application that caters to beauty and grooming services.

Irene Kieru
Irene Kieru
Image: Courtesy

Instead of opening salons and beauty shops like most people do, Irene Kieru went above and beyond and developed the AfroUrembo beauty booking app.

According to Irene who is the founder of AfroUrembo – the application is out to streamline the beauty industry.

She describes the app as a marketplace connecting clients with beauty care professionals.

AfroUrembo is a booking mobile application that caters to beauty and grooming services.

In an Interview with Mpasho’s Dennis Milimo, Irene mentioned that she has always wanted to see the beauty industry streamlined.

"I’m passionate about how we use digital services.

“I have always wanted to see the Salon industry being streamlined. That means when I want to book my hairdresser, I can just do it from the comfort of my phone through a digital system,” she says.

Irene Kieru
Irene Kieru
Image: Courtesy

How did you come up with the name AfroUrembo?

“The name was born in 2016 during a meeting with my friends and I wanted to have a system that helps Afro-people to book beauty services easily," Irene explained.

Irene says that while staying in Madrid a few years back, she never had someone to make her hair something that pushed her to start an application that connects clients with service providers.

“I used to stay in Madrid and I had no one to make my hair…I felt we need to have a way of booking our beauty services conveniently,”

What were the challenges when developing this Application?

"The biggest challenge was that I had not completely understood the industry here. I always thought people could pay before even receiving the services but I was wrong,”

She went on to note that Kenyans ate embracing digital services – a plus to her venture.

“I have to commend Kenyans because they are ready to try new services and we are doing well on the market and people are coming to us so that we can work with them,”

The AfroUrembo Application can be downloaded from the Google Play store and also on IOS.

“We need to have both the Saloon and the client on the platform for you to be able to book. And the good thing is you can see slots available at your favourite saloon and even get reminders once you have booked.”

The entrepreneur states that while using the App one can be able to track their spending at the salon or their favourite barbershop.

“You can be able to know how much you have spent on your barber or beautician by the end of the year or month,

“So when using AfroUrembo please don't hesitate to leave behind those reviews because we want to make your journey as seamless as possible.”

Irene acknowledged that African business owners have a weakness when it comes to transparency.

“We Africans have a problem when it comes to making our prices public but the app helps eliminate this vice,”

“Price transparency is a big issue.”

For a salon or barber shop to be enrolled on the platform, a service provider will have to pay monthly a fee of Sh2000.

“It’s free for the clients but salons have to pay a monthly fee of Sh2000. With time we will introduce classes - Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

"Using the app you will be able to book your professional conveniently, see other connect services, book a slot of your convenient time and cancel, and also track your spending and get discounts,” she said.

Asked about the challenges the beauty industry goes through and how the government can help Irene said;

“The government will come in handy if they could recognize the beauty industry. I wish one day we have a minister for beauty because nobody speaks for these people. No Sacco’s for them, no funding.”

Irene Kieru
Irene Kieru
Image: Courtesy

What is the best financial advice you ever received?

She replied; “Not every money is good money especially when you are a start-up and always don’t be in a rush to take every investment that comes your way,”.

Irene appealed to women in the beauty industry to support one another.

“Women tend to bring each other down but don’t be afraid to support one another,”

Irene narrates that she has had to overcome several hurdles to success as an entrepreneur in Kenya.

“Growing up I never aspired to be an entrepreneur but I got the idea when I was going for an internship in Zurich (Switzerland)… I had everything that could make me lose hope in being an entrepreneur.

"I was arrested on my first day to drive in Kenya and spent the night at Parklands Police station. I will never forget it.

Irene studied in Kenya up to college level and went to Europe as a house girl after form four.

‘I went to Europe as a house girl. I could not speak French but within a year I had learned the language. I later did a master's in international business. I worked in French corporate companies and later I decided I’m tired of the job and went to do my MBA in Madrid in 2016 – quitting my job. In 2017 I got the dream to start my venture and that's why I came back home,” Irene remarked.

She added; "I’m so proud of Kenyans we are no longer going to Europe as house girls but as people who are seeking knowledge.”

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