In the quest of trying to find a healthier solution for her sensitive skin, Grace Kimunya, an advocate, founded Dipsea care naturals which deal with the production of natural skincare and hair products. “Dipsea care naturals started as a passion and interest. I have sensitive skin and while looking for a healthier solution, I decided to enroll for soap making classes,” she says.
Due to the growing interest from family and friends she saw it as an opportunity to turn it into a business venture. “During this process, I also started receiving requests from family and friends who were also interested in trying out soaps made from natural products such as neem powder, turmeric, baobab tree and moringa powder among other natural ingredients,” she adds.
Aside from the soaps, Dipsea care naturals also produce lip butter which is made from sweet almond oil, coconut oil, lemongrass and shea butter and beard balms which are made from argan oil. The beard balms, however, are still new in the market given that they were launched a month ago after she received multiple requests from male clients who felt left out from the clientele list.
Most of her supplies are sourced from Amalia Nutritive Supplies, a one-stop health shop that supplies natural products that are specifically tailored for nutritional value, mostly for consumption. Grace, however, prefers to use the products as the main ingredients for her products given that they are also suitable for external use.
Having been in the green space for a while now, Grace notes that what sets her products apart from the others is her packaging. “As much as a good number of people in the green space are selling natural products, they still use plastics to package their products. As for Dipsea care naturals, we use reusable jars made out of aluminum for packaging. For example, the lip butter tins can, later on, be used as a jewelry container by clients,” she says.
Unfortunately, the green space also has its challenges. It is an expensive field. Sourcing both the products and the packaging is expensive and at the same time, one needs to price their products in a way that is not too expensive for the clients while maintaining the value of the products. To add to that, being a small business has its challenges too. Financial restraints pose the main challenge that small businesses face, for example, they need funds for branding, marketing among others.
Luckily, the market response has been good. “The market response was average when we started, given the fact that I had a specific target audience in mind. Though on the good side my sales have been consistent from when we started,” says Grace.
As a member of the AgriBiz program which is run by the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) and fully funded by the European Union (EU) and Danida, Grace notes that the membership has been very beneficial to her business. “There has been a notable difference in my business in terms of financial management and business planning which has been the highlight of the membership. It is important to have a business plan because it gives you a sense of where you want to be. The mentorship program by AgriBiz has also been very beneficial to me,” she adds.
As for future plans, Grace is looking into having branches all over Kenya and Africa at large. She is also looking into expanding her product range and introducing a grooming package for her male clients, something she believes would be a win for her and her business.
Her clients can access her products in Sawa Mall located in Nairobi. She also recently partnered with Kipusa Beauty as her stockist for her products which are now available in their three outlets in Westfield Mall – Gitanga road, Heri Plaza – Karen and Buffalo Mall in Naivasha. Clients can also access our products via her Instagram page at dipsea_care.
This article was first published on the Live Green magazine January issue, available on> https://issuu.com/kenyaclimateinnovationcenter/docs/live_green_015