Suzie Wokabbi is the founder and Chief Creative of Suzie Beauty, which is Kenya’s very first make up brand. She is also a wife and a mother to two.
I am usually awake by 6.30am every morning as I have two boys who need to be up, fed and ready for school. I then have to check my daily schedule and see what I have committed to. All the information sits on my phone, fortunately. Afterwards, I leave for work. My days are filled with meetings and handling different office issues.
My official title is founder and chief creative officer of SuzieBeauty. I finally got my dream title many years after founding my brand. It used to be CEO, which I was never comfortable with. Now, it is not necessary for me to be sitting in the office on a daily basis: I visit the stores when I can, and hold many meetings all over the city. I do a lot of speaking engagements, events, and media appearances, to do PR for the brand. I also travel quite a bit, all for PR as well, to spread the word of SuzieBeauty.
My brand was acquired three and a half years ago. As a result, day to day challenges have reduced quite a bit. However, I do find that human resource issues are still a challenge so it’s just a matter of trying to get the best talent for the job and maintaining them as much as possible. That isn’t always easy though, so there’s a whole load of rolling with the punches.
Outside of work, I’m a wife and mother of two boys, aged 6 and 9. My life mostly revolves around catering to them. I cook about five times a week. I like to cook; it’s therapeutic for me. I’m quite the homebody and homemaker. I avoid scheduling meetings after 4pm for this reason. I also am very close with my mum who’s my best friend but she lives in Nanyuki, so we try and get together as often as possible. I have a small pocket of close girlfriends too who I try to get together with maybe once a week to unwind, catch up and laugh a lot! Oh, I’m also a major cat lover.
My sons being happy makes me happy. SuzieBeauty makes me happy. Coming up with new product ideas makes my blood rush. And my cat Tootsie makes me happy. What gets me motivated is my love for beauty and Africa. My purpose in life is to be an instrumental part of growing the African beauty industry and building my legacy as such.
I have an amazing project that I’ve been working on for about a year that I am launching soon. I can’t reveal much until we launch, but think beauty and Africa. What I hope to get out of it is advancing and growing the African beauty industry, which is definitely my purpose.
I can’t pick out the best career advice I’ve ever received, but the best I’d give is focus on doing what you love. I totally advocate for the cliché “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Passion for what you do is what will keep you going and keep you positive every day.
My favourite part of the day is around 8.30pm when the whole family is settled in and I am in relax mode. Even though I may not be resting immediately, everything is low impact from there on. After dinner with the family I usually go to bed to unwind after the boys go to sleep at around 9 pm. But first I take my make-up off (I practice what I preach!). It might take a while for me to fall asleep (I’m a bit of an insomniac so can get up even at 3 or 4am), but to maximise on sleep time, this routine works best.
Of all my accomplishments, having my babies takes the cup. Founding and launching SuzieBeauty is way up there too. The appreciation of SuzieBeauty on a global level means a lot; so far I’ve been nominated for and won 17 business awards, definitely not what I expected through this journey!
The last great thing I read was Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I’ve been binge listening to George Michael for some reason. I’m a 90’s girl so that’s always my go to. I’m also obsessed with Beyonce and Prince. I mostly watch YouTube or Netflix. My favourite YouTuber is Lilly Singh and I find myself rewatching her videos a lot. I also love watching Dr Phil.