Many entrepreneurs are driven not only by passion, but also a desire to make a difference, particularly when it comes to creating employment opportunities in local communities. In the case of the Kenyan natural soap manufacturing company, Wipedo Ltd, its three women founders are not only creating world class natural soap products, but also creating employment for others, extending the value chain of this unique and proudly Kenyan brand.
LoA heard about these three pioneering women entrepreneurs during the recent Lioness Lean In Breakfast event in Nairobi, and was keen to find out more.
What does your company do?
We are three ladies manufacturing laundry bar soaps and natural-herbal bathing soaps. Our brand name is YOM Herbal Soaps and SOL bar soaps.
"We wanted to produce quality products made from a blend of oils and herbs that are gentle on the skin, scalp and hair."
What inspired you to start your company?
We wanted to produce quality products made from a blend of oils and herbs that are gentle on the skin, scalp and hair. Our operation is based in Kisumu which is a consumer driven economy with few manufacturing entities. We therefore chose the location to create employment.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Our products are made using a blend of oils and actual herbs which are gentle on the skin, scalp and hair. We have Neem Soap, Aloe Vera Soap, Moringa Soap, Lemon Grass Soap, Shea Butter and Coconut-Sunflower Soap.
"We have a passion for what we have started and the future plan is for our products to be a household name locally, regionally and internationally."
Tell us a little about your team
WIPEDO are the first initials for Winnie Ochieng, Pesika Odera and Doreen Okal and we are the owners of the business. Our backgrounds are in accounting, business management and environmental science. We have a passion for what we have started and the future plan is for our products to be a household name locally, regionally and internationally.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
It has not been an easy journey but hey nothing good comes easily. It has been a learning experience with ups and downs but that is the beauty about this journey as there is never a dull moment. Interestingly we were already making soap in our kitchens for home use and selling to family and friends before we decided to come together, pull in our resources and buy a plodder (a plodder is a soap extruder used in soap manufacturing to refine the soap and to extrude a continuous soap bar.) Yes we do come from an entrepreneurial background and amongst us we have a baker, farmer and investor in the hospitality industry.
"It has not been an easy journey but hey nothing good comes easily. It has been a learning experience with ups and downs but that is the beauty about this journey as there is never a dull moment."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We have a passion for what we have started and the future plan is for our products to be household names locally, regionally and internationally. We are also looking into the idea of getting a strategic partner in order to get to where we want.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Meeting happy and satisfied clients. Doing a stock take of where we have come from and the milestones we have achieved this far.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Start with what you have to get to where you want.
Contact or follow Wipedo
Why LoA loves it….
Many successful businesses are started as a result of personal interests and passions, and for the three women entrepreneurs behind the proudly Kenyan brands, YOM Herbal Soaps and SOL bar soaps, that passion was obviously soap. They have taken their interest in natural beauty ingredients and learned how to build a business around their manufacture of quality products to create natural soaps that are kind to the skin and hair, but also to the environment and the communities that produce them. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa