Having pursued studies in Biomedical Lab Technology, turning out to be a beauty and cosmetic expert did not come that easily for the 25-year-old Susan Namale Muwonge.
Not at any one point in time has she ever practised what she studied at university. She has instead followed her passion of beauty into the world of self- employment. She currently owns Predire House of Style, located in Ntinda. The shop, named after her one-year-old son, deals in a range of items, including brand perfumes, watches, ladies’ bags, make-up kits and jewellery.
Muwonge was propelled into the beauty world after her first shot at work with Oriflame, one of the fastest-growing beauty companies that directly sell products worldwide. This was in 2010 and she was then just in her second year at Mulago Paramedical School.
“At Oriflame, my salesmanship skills were honed because I learnt the art of persuasion and met many people,” says the petite and bubbly mother of one.
“For my excellence, Oriflame even offered me a free eight-month certificate course in Cosmetology and Beauty.”
This got her off to a flying start. On her first attempt at sales, Muwonge made Shs 135,000 off a perfume that she sold to some Congolese she met at Wandegeya. Luck begot luck when the same clients bought products worth Shs 170,000 the following day.
“I used to think people don’t invest in expensive beauty products, but when I got involved in this business, I got to appreciate that people can go out of their way to get quality,” she says.
Muwonge worked at Oriflame between 2010 and November 2011. She then joined House of Abigail, a beauty store located in Tusky’s supermarkets, as a sales manager. It is here that she met Sarah Nabatanzi, the Abigail director, who taught her the nuances of business start-ups and maintenance.
“She taught me how to deal with suppliers, debtors, creditors, determine the selling price, track sales, become a business manager, etc, and as I learnt, I started drawing up my own business plan,” she says. Nabatanzi has since become one of her role models.
Muwonge did not relent on pursuing her dream of becoming self-employed. She took to vigorous research on the internet, interacting with different people in business and reading self-help books such as Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
When the departure knell was finally sounded in August 2013, she resigned her job at House of Abigail and opened Predire House of Style Ltd. Her aunt, Mary Nassimbwa, credits her for being a determined child who will go out of her way to achieve whatever she sets out to do.
“Namale has always been a bright child who has maintained her policy of not failing. She will always prove that she is better at something and she even used to argue with her teachers,” Nassimbwa says of her.
At the time Muwonge thought of establishing a business in 2012, she was preparing for her wedding to Alex Stephines Muwonge in November.
“I had no money to invest in the business and make ends meet I had to borrow from my husband who was very supportive. Talk about seeing without believing,” she recalls coyly.
But this was just the beginning of her success. Muwonge was later connected by one of her friends within the Christ the King prayer group to Austrians who wanted to support entrepreneurial ventures. By then, she was armed with a startup capital of Shs 15m and a thorough business plan. The Austrians were later to become shareholders in her business. With Shs 60m pooled from Muwonge’s savings and the Austrians’ investment, Predire opened its doors in August 2013.
Although they have been open for less than a year, Muwonge says she already managed to purchase plots of land and a family car. She has also been nominated for the Startup Cup Challenge, an entrepreneurial challenge aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs.
“In a good month, the business can make profit of up to Shs 5m, and I am assured of a salary of over Shs 1m per month, far from what I was earning when I was still employed,” she says.
The prices range between Shs Shs 30,000 and Shs 200,000 for cosmetics Shs 30,000 and Shs 100,000 for jewellery Shs 250,000 for designer perfumes and Shs 50,000 and Shs 250,000 for watches. In future, Muwonge looks to opening up branches across Kampala.
Muwonge was born in Mbarara district and raised by her paternal aunt, Nassimbwa. She did not see her mother as she died in a car accident when Muwonge was only three months old.
Muwonge attended St Aloysius Girls School, Bwanda in Masaka for her O-level, between 2002 and 2005 and Christ the King SS, Kalisizo for A-level, between 2006 and 2007. She then joined Makerere University in 2008 for a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Lab Technology.
Work aside she enjoys spending time with her family, praying and reading.
Source : The Observer