All for beauty – meet Christopher Majengo, a self-made businessman

By Jasmine Atieno
Thursday, November 19th, 2020
Christopher Majengo, founder Empire works on a client’s hair. Photo/PD/Jasmine Atieno
In summary

Christopher Majengo, a self-made businessman and owner of Empire Dreadlocks Parlour, explains how making people beautiful set him on his path.

Jasmine Atieno @sparkleMine

For Christopher Majengo, setting up a business came after a series of odd jobs that proved to him that beauty was his passion.

He is among people who have faced many challenges of being raised in a polygamous family, especially since the family was not financially well off.

  His father, James Majengo, an administrative police officer and breadwinner, died in 1994, leaving behind three wives and over 20 children.  

As the second last born of his mother, Christopher, after his high school education, took it upon himself to take care of his mother and his brother. 

“I did any kind of job that came my way. I have hustled for my shilling since I was 12 years. I couldn’t depend on my mum because she wasn’t working.

I have been a makanga (tout), hawker, have worked in mjengo, and done photography between 2003 and 2008.

Above all that, I loved beauty; it is something I have always been very passionate about,” he says.

He started his career in beauty in 2002 when he was living with his cousin who owned and ran a barbershop. 

“I wanted to begin right away because I was in a place I really loved,” intimates the businessman.

He started by learning barbering then beauty and later learnt hairdressing then finally specialised on dreadlocks.

The choice to focus more on dreadlocks was inspired by the rise of natural hairstyles and haircuts for black women.

And when he moved to Mombasa in 2013, he chose it as the main focus of his beauty business.

And today, he is the most sought after dreadlocks stylist within Mombasa CBD. 

Greatest motivation

“I focused on dreadlocks after noticing many ladies were going natural or getting haircuts.

So, I targeted such people in the market space, that’s how I ended up more in love with dreadlocks.

I am now a loctician, specialised on all kinds of dreadlocks. In the last nine years, I have worked for only three spas before I was finally ready to open up my own place,” he explains. 

With the dream of one day opening his own parlour and giving others like him an opportunity in the industry at the back of his mind, Christopher saved as much money as he could while working for other people. With savings of Sh250,000, his dreams came true this year when he opened his own place. 

Being a single father and a taking care of his mother back in the village has been his greatest motivation to keep working hard.

Besides running his salon, he is also a career guide for many orphaned children in Children’s homes to give them hope that they can make something of their lives.

He also mentors young people to keep them away from gang life, drug abuse and crime, quite prevalent in the coastal area. 

Trending styles

While being in this line of business is super cool, it still comes with its own up and downs. 

“I have to always stay up to date with what’s in the market; go with what’s trending and new styles to maintain clients’ tastes because ladies love being in the fashion loop.

Understanding my clients are different and come with different moods, I try to fit all of them when they come to my parlour so that everyone can feel comfortable.

At the same time, there are women who have come to me for free styling and even sexual favours, but I stay on my lane to avoid these kinds of situations.

I lost some of them as clients after refusing to do things their way; I have to stay focused because if I ran things that way, I would have never come this far,” he shares, adding that he has had to stay on his toes, especially when there are many clients who want only him alone to handle their hair. 

The loctician has four employees who help him run the business, and has plans of bringing on board more people as the business grows.

He has also trained many youths the art of locking hair, and this has enabled them to set up their own businesses, gain independence and helped others, many of who could equally not afford to go to college to study beauty and hairdressing. 

“The youth I have trained and mentored thought they couldn’t earn a living unless they were working in a private or government office.

My target is to get a bigger shop, train and employ more youth. Keep them busy and they will have no time for meaningless activities,” he adds. 

His advice to wannabe entreprenuers.

“As a businessman, I have learnt that business grows from one level to the other. So many big firms began with very little.

And you can achieve whatever you set your mind on. Young people should get out of their comfort zones, and stop choosing what to or not to do.

They should make the best use of their talents to bring themselves out of those bad places to greater places,” says the beautician.