Florence Kamaitha is a creative entrepreneur, an author and a trainer on menstrual hygiene. She writes books for adolescent girls and also runs a blog, Her Business, for women in business.

1. Describe the business – What do you do and where are you based?

Fleopatra Home Fragrance is a premium brand of handcrafted and poured scented candles . We handcraft a variety of bath and body products like scented candles, linen sprays, hand wash and hand creams. We are based in Nairobi but have shops in Nakuru and Nanyuki.

2. How did the business get started?

My business started during the 2020 lockdown. We all made banana breads, became plant parents, then I decided to foster cats from KSPCA. I already had two cats. I would foster kittens from 4 weeks to 8 weeks then they would be adopted to their forever homes.

I had the kittens in a room and at some point, my house started smelling like cat pee. I don’t know if you know this but kittens will pee anywhere till they are litter trained. I went on Youtube and learned how to make fragrances that would make my home smell less. I made a few candles, tested them and loved them.

From there, a few guests would walk into my house and say, “I want whatever you’re using in your house”. I made my first 30 sales at home. That is when I realised I could turn it into business.

3.  Is there a set of skills you need to run a business like this? Which ones do you have?

The most important skill you need is marketing the products. I learned a bit of marketing earlier on, but I realised being a people person and convincing them to actually purchase is what matters. Also, customer service is key. Confirm clients have received the products. Ask for feedback. Positive or negative. This helps you to improve on the product.

4.  What would you like to see more of, especially in Kenya, when it comes to home scents businesses?

I would love to see more people embracing home fragrance in their homes. Everyone deserves to have a home that smells nice, but with how they’ve been marketed, it’s like home fragrances are for the wealthy, or are basically air freshener for the bathroom. What they don’t tell you is every time you cook, the different smells will attach to your clothes and linens, especially seats and curtains. You need to freshen every room in your house, not just the washroom.

5. Where do you find inspiration?

Creating stuff. Using my hands to do stuff. I love finding new things to create. Even if I don’t commercialize all of them, I am inspired every time I create something new.

6. What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced? Lessons learned?

Well, logistics. I thought making the products was it, but there’s a lot to deal with including delivering the products to the clients and the constant communication, rider disappointments, county crackdowns of riders in town. It was such a headache in the beginning that I’d spend too many days making and dispatching products. I had to subscribe to other online stores to stock my products in the CBD and other shops to deal with the logistics so I could focus on creating only.

7. What has been your proudest moment/achievement so far?

My candles have been in gift packs for brands that I would never imagine would use my products. Feedback from my clients has been 97% positive, which has been very encouraging especially considering I’m self-taught. Has a great feeling to it.

8. Where would you like to see the business go over the next 3 years?

I would like to see my products in boutique stores, events as well as all gifting companies. We customize our products for clients so we hope more companies will jump on board.

9. What advice would you give anyone looking to take the leap into running their own business?

Unless you really are interested, don’t. Business is a risk. A huge risk. All of us who love risk, are aware of the ups and downs of business. Bills will keep coming at you as you try to convince one client to buy your product.

My advice is always test the business as a side hustle if you have something going on. Start with friends. Work with their feedback, ask them to introduce you to two or three people then post on your platforms as much as possible. Don’t stop creating, record sales, keep marketing, audit yourself. Is it taking more from you than you can offer at that time?

Sometimes passion for the business is outweighed by life, bills and other responsibilities, so don’t kill yourself in a business that is stagnant. Take a break, rest, go back to the drawing board. Unfortunately, this only applies to those that have capital and minimal responsibilities.

Also, use your networks for capital too. Cash is king in a business. It allows you to do more and be more effective, so if you find yourself struggling too much, take that break and re-evaluate the business.

Bonus Question

10. What are some of your favourite businesses/brands in the home scents sector that are women owned/led in Africa?

Jo Malone. My God!

You can buy and contact Kamaitha and Fleopatra on the platforms below.

IG/Twitter @Fleopatrascents

Facebook: Fleopatra Home Fragrance

Tel: 0746104801


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here