The Kenyan fashion industry is becoming a popping scene, which has seen many luxury brands set shop in Nairobi. The city is also known to have captivating food and night club scene, not forgetting the cool art galleries. Vogue Magazine recently did an exemplar feature on the same, positioning the city as a go-to destination when it comes to fashion discovery.
It is for this reason that fashion entrepreneur, Founder & CEO of Blondez Boutique decided to have a cake of the burgeoning creative economy in Kenya. Having spent time in China, dealing with wholesale for furniture – from building materials to furniture – she came back to her home country to start a fashion brand.
The fashion house has literally dressed the who is who in the media and fashion industry; think of Lisa Downey, Trisha Khalid and @jwmuoki.
I had a sit down with the gorgeous entrepreneur and here’s what she had to say:
BMRA: What made you start Blondez Boutique in Kenya?
Susan: Fashion is my passion. I fell in love with the Glitz and Glamour of fashion from a young age…been modeling from class 2. However, I was more inclined to styling. I wanted to bring diversity and quality to the market. I have an eye for style…it’s just in me. But if it’s still not backed by quality, it all goes to waste. It’s important to look glamourous and expensive, on a budget in this day and age. Blondez Boutique offers all of that. Fashion is evolving in Kenya; having my store will definitely serve a wide range of clientele.
B: What’s your target market and what’s your price range?
S: My target market is: the modern classy, chic, trendy lady. One who wants to look sharp in the office and dazzling on the red carpet. We are quite affordable; it depends on the design and material. You can get a dress for as low as 7,000 shillings. For body suits, we start at 2,500 shillings.
B: How has been your journey so far?
S: I’ve had so many successes and failures. For successes, I have dressed a number of famous personalities, opened a physical store in Ongata Rongai – SWEETWATERS. We sell accessories such as bags, jewelry and shoes. I invested in myself financially and having a business has sharpened my skill. I learn new things everyday. For failures, they are many but I learn from my mistakes and focus on my successes.
B: Who are some of the celebrities that you would love to work with?
S: I would love to work with both local and international celebrities. Tiwa Savage is a favorite. Regionally, Victoria Kimani, Huddah Monroe and Vanessa Mdee, just to name a few.
B: How was life like before the boutique? Were you born to a silver spoon?
S: I am not really from a well off family. It is just a normal Kenyan family. It’s not like we are suffering but I had to work my way up. I started from the bottom. I went to a normal school. I stretched my way to the point that I had to go to China to learn everything. Before I started this, I never knew what shipping was all about or where I could get suppliers from. Everything I had to learn in my own little way.
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I actually never thought I’d start business because I had never done it in my life; not even a course in business. My passion was always medicine; I was supposed to travel to Germany but I cancelled last minute. I opted for something totally different…just for the passion I had in fashion you know. Studying people, getting new pieces, checking out what’s trending. The perfect time came when I went to China, acquired those skills and started it.
B: How do you keep up to date with fashion for business to make sure that your boutique is up to date?
S: Social media is a good thing. I’m always on social media, YouTube…every time I am checking out the new designs people are wearing. I also compare most of the brands. Like right now, what’s in trending is the studded dresses and jumpsuits. Before it was laced, then it went to leather and now it’s studded…you know, those with diamonds on them. Everything is evolving. I’m always on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook – just everywhere. I refer to my favorite designers, celebrities…you know.
B: Speaking of brands and celebrities, who are your favorites?
S: I like Fashion Nova. Pretty Little Thing is also a favorite. Boo Hoo…for celebs I like Kylie. I like her style. There’s also Blac Chyna. She does a lot. Keyshia Ka’oir…Nicki, Cardi…everybody has their own style every single day.
B: Why should your followers and Kenyans at large shop with you? What uniqueness do you offer?
S: Uniqueness: high quality, best team catering for customers, the best service, a variety of styles and designs – bandage, body con, sequin, lace, cotton dresses, jumpsuits…free shipping, affordable prices. We have a central delivery system in the CBD.
B: Where do you see yourself in the next two years as an entrepreneur?
S: God willing I will have approximately 5 stores around the country; I will be a huge designer/stylist in Kenya. I want Blondez Boutique to be the biggest retailer in high end fashion. I’m sure we will get there, 100%. No doubt. I also want to expand my market across the globe, not just in Kenya. In two years we’ll have worldwide shipping.
B: Who has been the most supportive person in your career so far?
S: My mum. I cannot say enough. When I did not have a shop, she used to do basically everything like deliveries when I was out of the country. She did the clearance, talk to some of my clients…nobody else has done more than she has.
B: There is a young person out there who wants to start a business, maybe a salon…what are some of the harsh realities that they have to deal with?
S: Business is not easy at all. You just can’t sit and wait. People are not gonna look for you. It doesn’t matter if you have the best product or service…if you do not have a following or people just don’t know your brand, you will not be selling anything.
To shop with Blondez Boutique, contact the team on +254751532861. It is the premier Kenyan online store.