Catherine Mbatha: From Working As A Shampoo Girl To Founding Own Barbershop Charging Up To Ksh 5,000 For A Haircut

Catherine Mbatha, the proprietor of Kate de Barbershop and Spa located in Diani, Kwale County, discovered her passion for barbering during her college days in Nairobi. Intrigued by the skillful work of barbers, she later secured a position as a shampoo girl in a local barbershop, a pivotal step that paved her way to success.

Upon completing her secondary education, Catherine relocated to Nairobi for college. During her commute to school, she frequently visited a local barbershop and became captivated by the intricacies of their craft. This fascination led to her employment as a shampoo girl, where she earned Ksh 1,000 a day by washing clients’ hair after a shave.

Over time, Catherine honed her skills and began performing less complicated haircuts for children. Six months into the job, she returned to Diani and secured a position as a barber. Despite initial resistance from clients due to her gender, Catherine persevered, and her clients eventually embraced the unique experience of being shaved by a female barber.

In an interview with Nation, Catherine shared that her journey was challenging initially, but she envisioned owning her own business. After working as a barber for a year, she used her savings of Ksh 140,000 to launch her own venture. This investment allowed her to purchase equipment, including seats and shaving machines, and co-rent a space with a friend.

The business flourished, prompting Catherine to expand. In early 2022, she moved to a larger space and hired three additional barbers to meet the growing demand. Responding to customer requests, she introduced massage services and expanded her space to include a massage parlour, offering a comprehensive range of services such as dreadlocks installation, manicures, and pedicures.

Catherine’s commitment to quality services, a clean environment, and excellent customer relations contributed to her success. Charging between Ksh 300 and Ksh 5,000 for a haircut, she has built a clientele that includes high-profile personalities in the county. Despite the challenges, Catherine emphasized the importance of personal sacrifice and hands-on management to ensure the business’s smooth operation and maintain high standards for her employees.