• 15 employees had ganged up to divert money to their phones

• Phoina faced major losses and considered closing down

Beauty and hair mogul Phoina Tosha
Phoina Beauty posing Beauty and hair mogul Phoina Tosha

Looking at Phoina Beauty, one would never think she at one time Phoina Tosha considered shutting down her business.

Phoina in an interview with Lynn Ngugi confessed that she has kept quiet about that part of her life because of fear.

In the interview, Phoina described her employees as a cartel that ganged up on her so that they could steal from her. 

"One day things started going south. On that day a client calls me and told me all the payments were going to a certain number. Further investigation showed an employee was forwarding money to themselves. I told my manager that we shouldn't do anything, they would book clients past work hours, if you don't have trust with employees they always find a way.


"That was in 2018. I had really invested in them. It was a cartel. It was 15 employees. Once I fired them they went out there to say malicious things about me. The problem with the service industry is that clients will move with them. That was a really hard time for me."

Phoina cried recalling that moment; "I would have just closed down, my business went down, I was scared to lose these people coz how do you fire, I had to deal with that situation, so I talked to my mum. They (the cartel) pinned a cleaner to the ground and told her not to talk. They had made her seclude herself and I always asked them why she was silent, but it was to make sure she -the cleaner- doesn't tell me."

That became a police case, as action was taken. Phoina said, "It was really a fallback and the money wasn't being seen at that time. I wasn't breaking even. But anyway I got rid of them. It was a whole investigation."

Her bounce back?

"I got a new manager, trained new employees...they are a rollercoaster. So I bounced back, took all the measures, and the clients that stood by me. Then corona hit us, people were scared to come back, landlords did not reduce rent, but God has been faithful."

Phoina at the time had fallback plans and encouraged Kenyans to improvise. The beautypreneur also spoke about her humble beginnings as a beauty and hair entrepreneur and how her mom wasn't convinced she should leave her job for it.

She recounted;

"I started getting on Instagram and watching people like Muthoni, and those days we didn't have many make-up artistes so I just started doing makeup for friends, family so one time I did for a wedding for a friend of a friend they paid me some good money.

My friend trusted me that time that money was good money on that weekend I think I made around 28k, so that was in 2014. So I went and talked to my mum and she said no you cannot quit your job she didn't actually understand that time that this makeup thing and how I am making money."

Phoina was discouraged by her mum to quit her job at a car tracking company for her beauty hustle.

Phoina left and started the beauty job, renting a small space to do nails.

"I started doing nails, then I trained with a guy, a very good mentor of mine called Sam. Nails were tricky coz people would come back two days later after the nail had broken. So I was tired of nails I said let me do makeup. So I opened a small studio in Hurlingham, My friend was a photographer and had a studio. I rented a space and used to do makeup for his clients."

Phoina said that that was where she honed her skills as a makeup artiste.

"Clients were quite a good number. I could no longer do it from the house. I need a bigger space. That was when I launched my business. At that time I felt ready to open up. I had the full support of everyone, you feel pumped."

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