By Ruth Mbugua

In 2009, Nelly Tuikong was a nurse in America but there was something tugging at her heart about makeup for the African woman.

Her entrepreneurial instincts kicked in after looking around stores for makeup that suited her African skin and didn’t find any.

With no prior knowledge in manufacturing makeup, but armed with a passion, Nelly started her journey that birthed Pauline Cosmetics (named after her mother) after three years of learning, research, and trials.

Nelly Tuikong

Pauline Cosmetics is a makeup brand that designs, develops and manufactures makeup products with the African woman in mind.

The brand has now grown to become an established makeup brand with a line of lipstick, lip-gloss, eye shadow, and mascara.

Enter Caroline Mutoko, a celebrated renowned media personality, a woman of her own caliber.

With more than 20 years of experience in the media, her name speaks for her in the Kenyan entertainment industry. Caroline Mutoko also has a YouTube channel where she takes the spotlight that is on her and shines it on you.

 In 2017, she was featuring Kenyan women who were making strides and shattering glass ceilings on her YouTube channel. One of these women happened to be Nelly Tuikong of Pauline Cosmetics.

In November 2018, Caroline Mutoko challenged Nelly to work with her to come up with a lipstick line for all the women who are ‘becoming, women in different spaces and phases of their lives and for every woman in you. This brought about the I AM limited edition lipstick.

Caroline Mutoko

To add more synergy to this powerful collaboration, these two amazing women, Pauline, and Caroline Mutoko, didn’t just stop there.

They collaborated with Wandia Gichuru of Vivo Woman to distribute the limited edition lipstick in 8 of the Vivo Woman stores in Nairobi. Wandia Gichuru has rewritten the narrative of modern day fashion.

She founded Vivo active wear in 2011 to offer comfortable casual wear for the sporty woman and official clothing for the professional woman.

Wandia Gichuru

Here are the 5 things I have learned from the partnership of these three glamorous women.

1. Collaborate instead of compete

An African proverb says “If you want to go fast if you want to go far, go together”.

Nothing is better than working with other women who get your perspective and challenges you face as a woman in business.  

2. Have a defined purpose and vision

When you have every partner pulling in different directions, there is bound to be no progress. To collaborate, you need to have a clear and shared vision and an agreed direction on how to achieve it.

3. Bring a unique value

Each partner should bring a differentiating factor into the equation. This helps to ensure that you do not view each other as competition.

4. Have mutual benefits

The partnership should be beneficial to all partners. This removes the perception that one person is bearing a bigger load than the other.

5. There is room for more than one queen

There is no winner takes all award in entrepreneurship. As women, we need to get over this attitude and view women as a community to help each other grow and not competition.

“My advice to girls is always this: Be supportive of each other. I can’t say this enough. We have to be our best friends, each other.  That means we cannot be catty, we cannot compete and see one person’s failure as our success.

We can all rise together, we can all win!

We’re sometimes taught in our societies that we have to compete and we have to hold each other back in order for one of us to succeed.

That is not true. We need each other.

And all over the world, we have to be a team of women and girls who love each other and value each other and cherish one another.

Because if we don’t cherish each other, no one else will,” – Michelle Obama

No more articles