Tag Archives: Terryanne Chebet

Keyara Organics, not just about skincare.

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Keyara Organics is growing!

We now have launched a new line of body butters, body balms and hair food and are quickly taking charge in the ‘Made in Kenya’ natural personal care corner, and loving every moment!

As the founder, I’m so excited about the prospects of a brand new year and the consequent energy.

Keyara Organics is now retailing in health stores and beauty shops around Nairobi, Naivasha, Malindi, and across borders in Lusaka, London, New York and currently looking to expand to new markets.

Keyara was born out of a need and a love for organic and natural skin care products, which for us, always come with the reassurance of ‘ancient wisdom’.

We hope to make a mark on the bright spot that is the globally growing natural products market. New Hope 360, on online portal for all things Natural shows that anti-aging products, essential oils and improved packaging were key trends in the US in 2015 and expect the natural care industry to keep on that explosive growth trajectory.

A recent NEXT Forecast on the economics of natural products highlights that the industry is claiming a larger piece of the overall consumer packaged goods pie. It estimates that in the U.S., consumer sales of natural, organic and healthy products were forecasted to expand 64 percent from $153B in 2013 to $252 billion by 2019. Unfortunately, We do not have a Kenyan report on the growth of natural beauty products.

We see a steady rise in demand for our natural products and continue to formulate using the purest and most premium oils, butters and scents from across the beautiful African continent, ranging from Shea butter harvested in Nothern Uganda, Cocoa Butter from Ghana, Coconut oil from Kenya, Marula oil from South Africa, Argan oil from Morocco among many other authentic African botanicals.

However, My journey with Keyara Organics isn’t just about skincare.

I believe that it is time the world begins to see the other side of Africa. Our new stories must be deliberately visible and tangible, and I want to be part of that story.

Some of the worlds most luxurious skincare brands source their premium oils from Africa, but we, Africans, are left to only export raw materials and very rarely benefit from the opportunities in Value addition.

WE export the raw materials, THEY manufacture, and THEY SELL it back to us.

What a paradox.

I believe and live as a proud child of Africa, and my hope is that Keyara among other quality African brands will play a key role in changing the negative African narrative, one brand at a time. I’d love to see made in Africa brands on commercials in New-York and London, just as we see French and other European brands lead on market share in our regions.

The largest challenge perhaps is quality of packaging and print work for local SME’s. For us to compete effectively, we must be able to locally access or afford quality packaging from China, the world’s largest plastics manufacturer. The minimum quantities of these packages are however restrictive to small businesses, while the quality of local packaging materials is still way below international standards, thereby meaning that SME’s looking for quality packaging will have to absorb extra costs of packaging and freight, hence lowering margins and slowing down brand growth.

Worse still, import duty rates (Kenya) on plastic tubes for packing cosmetics were in the last budget (2015-2016) were increased from 10% to 25% making it an even tighter race to the top for those keen on importing quality plastics, this knowing well that the government was moving to protect local plastic manufacturers.

I’d like to challenge African plastic manufacturers to catch up quick, if we must begin to compete in a bigger space.

My challenge to African entrepreneurs is to challenge the status quo and begin to create unapologetic African brands that will compete.

My challenge to African consumers is to believe in our own quality African products, because we do have some incredible ‘Made in Africa’ brands which are formulated using Africa’s best, and topped off with the pride and luxury of Africa.

I would also like to deeply celebrate our ‘ Naturals’ community from across the continent who have been the first to believe in local Natural skin and hair care brands, with so much gusto, that some local brands have grown based on the growth of beautiful Africans who are not afraid to make their Africa shine.

Buy African today!

Keyara Organics. Africa Reborn.

Of Lavish African loving.

“And remember, as it was written, to love another person is to see the face of God.” — Les Miserable

I’m fascinated by writers. African writers specifically, even those with the charm of a corpse always manage to stir deep feelings of passion within me, anger or even regret, depending on what time in history they wrote. Because the African writers’ calendar dates back to when the colonialists came to Africa, perhaps, when Africans began to write in languages that foreigners could read ad understand.

I’m constantly peeved by the books written about Africa on my humble bookshelf, but my anger, unless countered by a new book written by me or other Africans that scoff at Englishmen of old or backpacking American journalists turned African experts, then I could as well tell it to the birds. It really is our fault that we do not have many African writers who can pen our own stories and help bring to life that now famous line, ‘The African narrative’ which in all fairness has evolved and transformed over time, and Africa, in many ways is rising. Numbers don’t lie, the economists say.

So, I’ve recently stumbled upon one Dunduzu Chisiza, he is described as a Nationalist and early agitator for independence in Nyasaland, now Malawi. Reading about him introduces you to an African that would not be stopped by class, colour or creed. His publications and style of writing literally tug at my heart.

He writes:
” In Africa, we believe in strong family relations. We have been urged by well meaning foreigners to break these ties for one reason or another. No advice could be more dangerous to the fabric of the society. charity begins at home. So does the love of fellow human being. By loving our parents, our brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces, and by regarding them as members of our families, we cultivate the habit of loving lavishly, of exuding human warmth and compassion, and of giving and helping. But I believe that once so conditioned, one behaves in this way not only to ones family, but also to the clan, the tribe, the nation and to humanity as a whole.”

Dunduzu goes ahead and talks about insubordination of national loyalties to international loyalties, referring to foreigners as Individualists who cannot foster internationalism.’

For me, Kenya is at the point where cynicism is the the order of the day. The days of women laughing heartily and young men and women celebrating each other has tapered down to wanton criticism, gossip, negative ethnicity and a uniquely high breed of hatred. We hate everything and anyone that’s Kenyan. The National Football team, The Rugby players, Public personalities, Kenyan firms. Everthing and everyone that’s Kenyan is constantly on the chopping board, it is everything that constructive criticism is not about.

Does this, after reading Dunduzu say something about our social fabric? Is there any more lavish loving that seeps beyond our nuclear family units and into the family next door? Have we tightened the rope too tough to allow cultures that are individualistic in Nature to wear out the African fabric that’s laced with respect and universal love. Deep lavish love.

For many, this may appear simplistic, but I’m student of this assertion, that Maybe, it is all about love.

Sweet and sour: A chronology of losses

Recently, the government handed a 1 Billion shilling lifeline to Mumias Sugar. The miller is currently deep in the throes of debt, grappling with run down machinery and concerns over what that 1 billion shillings can actually do for the now moribund business, which has crumbled in recent years under allegations of heavy corruption amidst low cane production, cheap imports as well as policy related challenges.

The Presidential team, in what could have been argued was a ‘sugar coated’ trip, headed west with a four-point turn-around strategy.

• Appointment of a management team
• Injection of funds
• Undertaking a rights issue to raise between Sh3 and Sh4 billion
• Rescheduling of debts

Former MD, Evans Kidero who has been allegedlly linked to Mumias’ failures joined Mumias in October 2003 as managing director and left in June 2012.

Let’s look at Mumias Sugar’s financial track record

2004
Highest profit after tax results since inception
11% growth in cane processed
Cane production grew to 264 000 metric tones.

2005
Signed contract with KPLC to supply 2 MW of electricity to the National Grid
Cane Production stood higher at 269,184 metric tones

2006
18% growth in Profit After Tax: KShs 1.53 Billion
Share price on the NSE Ksh 60 on 8th Sep 2006

2007
14% drop profit after tax to 1.3 billion shillings.
Decline attributed to Industrial disputes with cane harvesting and haulage contractors. This year allegations emerged that Mumias Sugar took Sh 2.6 billion from Mumias Outgrowers Company accounts, ( MOCO) and declared it as part of its profits, the sugar firm supposedly siphoned money from the accounts of the farmers’ body to declare artificial profits.

2008
After tax profit stood at 1.2 billion shillings. The drop was blamed on ethnic fighting in the first quarter following a disputed presidential election resulted in the loss of production of some 14,000 tonnes of sugar.

2009
Staggering drop in half year profits 73 %drop in profits after tax to 23 million shillings for its half year. Full year results showed profits after tax dropped 25 per cent Sh1.2 billion. There were some gains though, a power generation project by Mumias Sugar Company paid off through tax credit and pushing its after-tax profit up by 33 per cent from Sh1.2 billion to Sh1.6 billion.

Note: An audit done showed that between 2008 and 2009, for instance, a Sh23 million loss was identified as a result of selected customers maintaining long-standing orders and only using those that benefited them, at the expense of the company, allegations of fictitious transport costs

2010
Net income declined to ksh1.57 billion. Production of ethanol and electricity however buoyed investor confidence. Even with those new gains, Mumias Sugar was found to have lost up to Sh2.08 billion as a result of deliberate abuse of key control measures.

2012
Mumias Sugar has posted a Sh1.67 billion loss for the full year ending June, pulled down by a decline in cane supply and factory inefficiencies. The company blamed an increase in global and regional sugar supply. Cheap sugar imports also served to depress prices

2013
Mumias Sugar posted a Sh2.7 billion loss for the full year ending June, pulled down by a decline in cane supply and factory inefficiencies. Mumias Sugar shoulders Sh10.2 billion debt.
Seven lenders are collectively owed Sh6.5 billion. Suppliers and other creditors are demanding Sh1.5 billion, while the taxman demands Sh2.2 billion.

2014
Posts 1.4 Billion loss after tax
“Mumias presents a very bitter lesson on how unabated mismanagement can destroy shareholder wealth” – Aly Khan satchu

An EACC report on the sugar sector in 2010 postulated that the sub-sector is facing serious challenges of productivity, competition, governance and weakness in the operating legislative framework, challenging the way key decisions are made, by key actors including decisions on sugar importation, privatisation of sugar mills, negotiations on COMESA and other international agreements affecting the sub-sector. Political interference in the appointments of chief executives of mills, Board members, KSB elections and other key auxiliary agencies associated with the sub-sector.
Without a doubt, Mumias sugar and the sector as a whole needs a a clean up, but fears over just who is on the chopping board, how many well connected individuals got their hands in the cookie jar, how deep the rot in the industry goes are just some of the concerns that analysts feel may never be adequately addressed.

Nandi County: Ready and Open for Business

The other week I was a moderator and Emcee at the Nandi County Investment Conference in Kapsabet, a feat I must say was beautifully fulfilling for me. I was pleasantly surprised and honestly caught off guard by the level of planning and investment that’s already going into the county which is seeking to position itself as the anchor county of the Rift Valley Region.

The home of Legendary Kalenjin hero Koitalel Arap Samoei sits on the sprawling Nandi hills, it is a shame really, that the county doesn’t count in the Tourism circuit, and badly needs a good hotel, seeing as VIP’s had to stay in the neighbouring County, Uasin Gishu.

Nandi was once one of Kenya’s wealthiest districts, having seen years of green prosperity through tea and coffee; but those years slowly faded, and today majority of try small scale farmers feel like slaves of tea while most of them cut down their coffee trees, having fallen victims to zero investments in Value Addition.

Today in the sleepy town of Kapsabet, you can see and feel Nandi’s economical potential beginning to simmer,bubbling with hope and promise of the fruits of devolution underneath. The side walk chats and after hour discussions I had with some of the county leaders and local residents revealed to me a people that are ready to fly. The town that in early years refused to have a railway pass through it, is today clearing the path for the Standard Gauge Railway,looking to efficiently transport their produce direct to port cities as well as to receive imports such as Infrastructure inputs. These they say are just some among the benefits they expect with the new’ Snake’ in the words of Koitalel Arap Samoei.

The Investment conference was a major highlight in the County calendar, and attracted investors from as far as Israel, who came to put up a coffee factory in Tinderet, Danish Investors armed with about 100 million shillings to build a milk processing plant, a medical group that’s set to break ground with a state of the art medical centre, among other key investments and pledges.

The county’s ICT agenda of growing a knowledge economy saw the youth of Nandi who make 77% of the population benefit from a pledge by Jamii Telcom’s Chairman Joshua Chepkwony to provide free internet to a youth centre that will be managed by the county, a space for techpreneurs to start ICT businesses and receive capacity training, Ihub and Nailab Style.

Farmers were challenged by the various speakers and stakeholders to add value to their produce, especially in tea, where the Kenyan market continues to rely on brands that have been on the market for years, yet Nandi county can only boast of one or two branded teas.

I must say I was deeply challenged by the depth of discussion and even more the practicality of resolutions made.

Investors in Water supply, Hospitality, Real Estate, value addition in Agriculture should now be eyeing the under developed and high potential county, the hope here is that the leadership stays on this tangent and disallows politics to overthrow the economic potential.

However, I would have wanted to hear more about some incentives for investors to encourage and make the county attractive and perhaps a county economic blue print that will lead the county into the prosperity they seek. However with the appointment of an Investment Board during the conference that included a few young business people, perhaps an economic roadmap will now be designed.

Euphoria aside, should Nandi County walk the talk and separate petty politics from development, theirs will be one of Kenya’s leading counties in the next few years.

Pictures ( A Kale would say, Kitole, Courtersy of @tichophil)

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You are designed to stand out of the crowd. Wednesday Thoughts…

I am passionate in an almost obsessive manner about personal branding, and I’m constantly giving unsolicited advice to friends and family on how they can do a few things different in order to stand out of the crowd, because i believe that we were designed for greatness and we can do a few things different to achieve that status.

I strongly believe that anyone can create a personal Brand that is irresistible. It does not matter what your background is, who you know, especially for us here in Kenya, or where you went to school.

I insist as well, that Personal Branding is not about being a celebrity

Personal Branding is about using your best assets to position yourself at the top of your career; business and sector
Here’s a few things you can start doing today:

Ask 3-5 people to write down 3 things that describe you
Write down 5 things that you want to define your brand
Write down a personal tagline that defines you the brand
Write down what it takes to get you to where you want to be as a brand

Using that as a guide, write out weekly tasks, monthly and yearly

For instance: this week I will start a blog. This month I will attend at least one networking event. This year I will start my business…etc..

Stay here for more tips this week on how you can build your personal brand!

R.IP ‘Africa Rising’ Meet Mugabe, The African Union Diplomat

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Has the African Union heard of ‘ Africa rising?’

Perhaps in this day and age you’d think that the Africa rising narrative is something our leaders not only aggressively push for but live by. But after Uncle Bob took the baton on the 30th of January, we sprinted quickly backwards and fell bottom first on that narrative.

I’d like to think of how the next year for the AU under Mugabe will look for in a continent that is badly in need of a new narrative. I’m one of those that subscribes to a new narrative that needs the best of African voices to speak on behalf of our continent, for us but also for the world. Not, the best speakers from an oratory point of view, but those that see, believe, and ensure that Africa’s fortunes are indeed rising.

But when Mugabe took over:

Africa laughed, the world laughed.

For the African Union, it will perhaps be the one of the most visible years if Mugabe’s eccentricity is anything to go by.

What we can truly expect are his tried and tested jibes at Western nations, always incredibly tickling sound-bites for the press across the world.

Here’s a random search on Mugabe quotes.

“The only white man you can trust is a dead white man.”

“I have died many times – that’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once.”

“We don’t mind having sanctions banning us from Europe. We are not Europeans.”

You will agree with me that ‘Africa rising’ is in trouble.

The world ideally views the AU leader as a Global Statesman, the voice of Africa and the representation of the fastest growing continent.

Let’s look at the Vision Statement of the AU for some crystal gazing into Mugabe’s year;

“
The vision of the African Union is that of: “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”


Without a doubt, ‘Representing a dynamic force in the Global Arena’, stands null and void amidst all the western sanctions.

Africa’s longest serving president has a track record that the world sneers & jeers at. Will he now negotiate in absentia in the world’s global boardrooms?

Has the AU failed in its’ ‘rotational’ system?

Shouldn’t the AU now begin to think of a more progressive election that will reflect the so called progressive and modern status of the Union?

Africa in 2015 needs friends & partners to collaborate with in infrastructure, fighting terrorism, funding health projects among others key gaps. However, making a diplomat of Mugabe is akin to the story of the camel and the eye of the needle.

Remember this Mugabe quote?

“I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for.

RIP Africa rising, til’ we meet.