What you need to know:
- The media personality and social media influencer recently relaunched her Spa and Salon business, Flair by Betty.
- She tells Lilys Njeru why finally this is her moment
A few weeks ago, media personality Betty Kyalo, relaunched her spa, Flair by Betty, in a new location at Rose Avenue, George Padmore Junction. Coming on the heels of her departure from TV, and in the backdrop of the Covid-19 havoc, many were surprised at her move.
"When my landlord told me that he would rent out this space to me, I cried; not immediately, but later. It was a big deal for me. I had been looking for a new location. I felt that we had outgrown the former location and I wanted a different experience for my clients," Betty, 31, who set up the salon and spa in 2018, says.
"I wished for a place with a home setting—a playground for kids, no parking struggles, and obviously no, "What floor did you say you are in? questions,'" she says.
In February this year, she spotted the perfect place. "It was a standalone house. I wanted it. But there were five of us contesting for it. And I didn't even have the entire money," she says.
Thanks to the chemistry with the landlord she was put on top of the list. "He agreed to give me a two weeks' window to look for the rent deposit," she confides. We are seated at her new business, as her mother waits for her in the parking bay.
"By the way, you should talk to my mother, she has been my pillar financially and emotionally," she tells. Betty enlisted her mother's help to raise the rent deposit. "One thing that running a business has taught me is that there's no shame in asking for assistance," she says.
If money was short, should she have waited a little longer to move?
"Honestly, I planned to wait but it became overwhelming because I had to pay rent for both spaces. We had to move," she replies.
Raising the rent was only the half-way job, remodeling the new place needed much more money. "I haven't even had the time to total the expenses but it is more than four million shillings. I don't know how long it will take us to break-even but it was worth it and with the number of clients coming in, maybe, it won't be long," she assures.
Flair by Betty offers services such as hairdressing, barbering, pedicure, manicure, facials, and waxing. I wonder what's so unique about her offering.
"We have this room whose wall art is children themed. In there, children can colour, paint, or read as they wait to be attended. Also, private rooms," she says and continues, "I decided to incorporate such rooms to cater to women who want privacy— like Muslim women. There is also a private room for men," she says.
She is quick to point out that the business caters to all. "We are not high end. Our normal polish manicure is Sh1,000 and gel manicure goes for Sh3,000."
For many years, Betty was on the other side of the interview. She is a media personality with a huge social media following and until recently, she was a news anchor at a local TV station. "I was passionate about my job but also, very intentional with my career growth. For a few months leading to my departure, the environment was not the right one for me to thrive. So, I resigned. I was not fired," she reveals.
She now spends most of her time at the salon, engaging with her clients and staff. "I will get back the media industry but for the next three months, I plan to be mostly here to ensure that everything is running smoothly," Betty who has a team of 35, 12 of them permanent, says.
She says, to run the salon smoothly while employed, she put the right structures in place. "I treat both my clients and the staff right. When I get here, I go around saying hello. You saw that" she declares.
Betty's love with beauty goes way back. "I had an accident that damaged one side of my face and left scars on my neck. During that time, I appreciated make-up. I loved the elegant look you got at the salon," she says.
The year 2016, marks the year she entered a partnership to set up Posh Palace.
"Our deal was set on ambiguity. It wasn't clear who was to do what. We didn't have the entire thing figured out," she states.
Wiser, in 2018 she went solo by setting up Flair by Betty. "Flair means elegance".
She's never been prouder. This year, she feels even much so. "This year has been good. I feel centered. I know myself better, I am making better choices both in business and in relationships. Also, I have become more spiritual and prayerful," she vocalizes.
Alert to the power of social media, Betty uses it to market her ventures. "When we launched the salon, I had hundreds of messages and calls from strangers— people who follow me on social media," she shares.
But she is quick to mention that her business would not be a reality today, if not to the power of 'relations'.
"You see this space; I didn't have enough money to make it as elegant as it is. But I worked with this company and I told them, "I don't have enough money for all this." We figured out a payment plan. I tell people, invest in good relationships with people. They propel businesses. And this cuts across whether it's online or offline," she advises.
Soon after, Betty launched her YouTube channel which has since garnered over 100k subscribers in a month. "You read blogs, don't you? Do you see how many of them have maligned me? I started the YouTube channel because I wanted people to know who I was, tell my own story, and to connect with fans," she explains.
"Has the name soiling impacted my personal life and business?" "No, because while they were writing mostly untrue stories, I kept my authenticity. People like honest people. On the channel, I get to show people who I am. I have many brands reaching out to work with me," she says.
On the personal front, Betty says she has nothing to hide, as many know about her divorce and follow-up relationships. "I am currently single. Do you know what is interesting about the dating life? There's no specific formula," she says. She is not closed to dating though. "I am looking for a pious man- no matter the religion. When someone is God-fearing, it is hard for them to hurt you. I want a hard worker. He also shouldn't try to change who I am and should love my daughter unconditionally," she proclaims.
Her phone is abuzz. "I have to go. We have a shoot for my YouTube channel, #BettyKyalloLately, and a client's meeting in about 10 minutes."
I have one last question. "At 31, what shakes your confidence?" "The thought of being unable to provide for my daughter, Ivana," she declares.