Put a dark-skinned woman and the African sun together, throw in some grossly overpriced, often counterfeit make-up brands into the equation and what do you get – a recipe for disaster! Multiply that and you have a population of fashion police’s most wanted, not to mention a host of unsightly skin reactions.
This was the inspiration that led Suzie Wokabi, International Relations degree holder, to pursue her passion and create her authentic, affordable, high-quality African make-up brand. This revolutionary line is Kenya’s first make-up/ beauty brand and a global trailblazer in creating a bespoke product for the African woman, by an African woman. Soon after graduating from University in the U.S, Suzie dove right into the fashion industry. She was trained by MAC Cosmetics and completed an intensive Media Make-up certificate course at the Award Studio Make-up School in Los Angeles. She worked in New York within the fashion and beauty industries from 2001 until 2007, when she returned to her hometown of Nairobi, Kenya. Suzie is now one of the top local make-up artists whose extensive industry experience runs the full gamut from Print Media to Television, Film, Video, Commercials, Runway, and Bridal. She began creating her make-up/ beauty brand in early 2009 and officially launched it in December 2011. The hallmark of SuzieBeauty products is affordable, great quality, tailor-made for the unique needs of women living in the African climate.
To date, Suzie’s work has been featured in the Italian Vogue L’Uomo magazine, as well as countless local glossy magazines. She has graced the covers of Passion for Life, Prestige, Parents, True Love and Drum Magazines. Since 2008 she has worked with Kenyan-fashion veterans such as Ann McCreath of Kiko-Romeo and the illustrious annual FAFA show (Festival of African Fashion and Arts), which draws several international heavyweights in support of its noble cause. One of her major clients throughout her artistry career has been MNet, through which SuzieBeauty’s work has been seen on various TV Shows like IDOLS, The Patricia Show, Catwalk Africa, Face of Africa, and Coke Studio. She has led SuzieBeauty backstage through 4 seasons of the biggest regional TV Show, Tusker Project Fame. SuzieBeauty sponsors most major fashion events including Fashion & Beauty Expo (FAB), Nairobi Fashion Market, Samantha Bridal Expo, Miss World Kenya, Kenya Fashion Week, and Hub of Africa Fashion Week in Addis Ababa (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015).
Suzie has been featured in vibrant design and lifestyle hubs including the blogs Fashionnotebook, Fashionforensic, Dressupnation, and Kenyanstylista. Interviewed by world-renowned journalists like Jeff Koinange and featured in the New York Times, Suzie was named one of the Five Fashion icons of 2012 by Nairobi’s Capital FM radio station, and in 2017 featured in Forbes Magazine (online). A devoted wife and a mother, her story has been profiled on all the Kenyan TV stations (Citizen, K24, NTV, KTN, KBC, CNBC Africa), Radio stations (BBC World Service, Kiss FM, Capital FM, Easy FM), and National Newspapers (Business Daily, The Nation, The Standard, Financial Post, The Star). She was featured as one of Kenya’s leading business people in 2013 in Msafiri Magazine (Kenya Airways Inflight) to tie in with Kenya’s Golden Jubilee of Independence, and awarded the Msafiri Business Award for Health & Beauty. A great compliment was paid to the brand by Oscar Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o when she wore SuzieBeauty’s Zamba lipstick to her appearance on the Queen Latifah Show and posted it on her social media. In January 2018, Suzie was dubbed as “The Face of African Beauty” by CNN International in their African Voices feature on SuzieBeauty.
In 2013, Suzie received a finalist award for the Most Influential Women in Business & Government in Africa. Under her able leadership, the company SuzieBeauty won 2nd runner-up in the Trade category of the 2013 Africa SMME (Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises) Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has now won twice in the 2014 Most Influential Women in Business & Government Awards in the Wholesale & Retail Category for Country and Region, and was a finalist in the Transforming Kenya Awards 2014 in the Manufacturing category. In March 2015, Suzie attended a Gala in Paris to honour African women who are impacting the African Continent one way or another (Gala des femmes Africane ‘GAFA’). She was nominated in the Entrepreneur category. Suzie travelled to Boston, USA in February 2015 as a Distinguished Panelist at the Harvard Business School – Africa Business Conference with the Panel Title of “Localizing Product and Business Models”. Again in 2015, she is a nominee for the Most Influential Women in Business & Government Awards, as well as a nominee in the Kenya Fashion Awards – Make-up Artist category. SuzieBeauty has also been nominated for the Jumia Kenya Glamour Awards 2015 in the Brand of the Year category. For the GES Kenya 2015 attended by President Obama, Suzie was selected to speak on a high level panel taping in the Fashion & Beauty forum. Suzie was invited to be a Speaker at the Retail Congress Africa in Cape Town, November 2015. In February 2016, she received the Retail Leadership Award at the Asia Africa GCC Retail and Shopping Centre Congress in Mumbai, India. She also attended and moderated a panel the World Retail Congress in Dubai in 2016 and 2017 and is part if the Grand Jury in 2018; the Essence Festival by CNBC Africa in Durban November 2016; and was rated as one of the top speakers at the MEADFA Conference in Dubai in November 2016. Suzie was also invited to be a VIP Buyer at Cosmoprof Bologna March 2017, and again was a panelist at the World Retail Congress, Dubai 2017. In November 2017, Suzie was invited to Istanbul, Turkey by the Embassy to collaborate with their local manufacturers and expand trade between the countries.
At the end of 2015, the brand was acquired by The Flame Tree Group. The brand now has the ability to increase reach and has gained a partner that will help the brand get to the next level and implement all planned strategies.
SuzieBeauty products are readily accessible online and in retail outlets in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and various other towns countrywide. Additionally, the brand plays a key role in the fashion, beauty, media and bridal industries and has established a seasonal school where aspiring local make-up-artists can learn this valuable skill.
Suzie Wokabi is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer .