Mugethi and Mugzie’s Naturals

“So your name is Mugethi Gitau?”


“Spell that for me, please.”

“M-U-G-E-T-H-I  G-I-T-A-U.”

Great! And your brand is…?

“Mugzie’s Naturals. M-U-G-Z-I-E apostrophe. S. Another word. N-A-T-U-R-A-L-S. Mugzie’s Naturals. Yes, you’ve written it correctly. I went into the business full time last October [2016]. I registered it as a sole-proprietorship.”

“What’s your business about?”

“I make products for natural hair care. I make them myself in my kitchen using ingredients I’ve sourced locally. Except for the shea butter, I get that from Uganda; all my products are based on shea butter. I make hair butter, body butter and extra-rich body butter, stretch mark cream, beard cream for men and lip butter. I also make scented shower melts and sell bentonite clay. Don’t worry,” she hastily adds when she notices how clueless I seem, “I’ll show them to you later. I store the butter-based products in my refrigerator,” she motions to her kitchen, “so that they won’t melt before I deliver them to my clients.”

“And how old are you? Kids, no kids? Married, not married?”

“I’m 33. I have a son, he’s seven. I used to be married but I’m not anymore.”


It’s the Saturday before the General Elections. I’m at Mugethi’s place on Ngong Road; I’m here to meet her for this feature story. The story already run in the Saturday Magazine (a week later, on 12 August) but it was such a fun story to do that I figured it wouldn’t hurt to redact it for Craft It.

I arrive for our interview half an hour later that we’d agreed because – sigh, I’m embarrassed to say this – because I was in the digs making sure that the boxes against GB’s ‘Post-election check list on family safety’ were all ticked. It’s a plan that read like it was from some National Brochure.

Indulge me for a moment, if you will.

Here’s what some of the sections said. Under ‘Food/Water stocks’, it said, “…A seven-day supply of food and drinking water for each person in your household is recommended. Remember dry pet food. Keep some food and water in the car.” (I chuckled at the pet food because we keep babies, not pets.) Under ‘Personal Documents,’ it read, “Centralise your important personal documents (e.g. passport, school and marriage certificates, property deeds) in order that you can access them in a hurry, photocopy these and ensure these are on a Cloud too.” (You gotta be kidding me.) “Should the situation escalate,” it said under the the section for ‘Grab Bag’, “pack a bag with essential items and keep it handy.”

It felt like we were preparing for a state of emergency.

GB was away for the weekend. He GB called to check in on my progress and I told him I had a few questions: Supposing shit hit the fan and we jumped into our “kitted, fuelled and serviced personal motor vehicle” would we go hide in some steel bunker located in an undisclosed address and maybe wear oxygen masks? Would Pastor Owuor join us down there?

What would be the criteria for letting people sleep on the mattresses or sleep on the floor, would they give priority to the mums like me with toddlers, or would we have to show them our scanned school certificates? If our own house caught fire, what’s the one gadget he’d run back into the building to get? What about a book, what’s the one book he’d go back in to get? Would his Kindle take priority over his –  ? Hallo? Hallo?

He’d hang up on me mid-sentence.

As she waited for me to show, Mugethi watched a detective series on her laptop called Castle. She crotcheted mindlessly while at it.

When I walk past Mugethi’s front door – after we’d shaken hands in intros and I’d apologised for my tardiness – I ask her the one question I’m certain everyone who meets her for the first time does: “My goodness, is that your real hair?”

She chortles, obviously used to it by now and says, “Yeah, it’s my hair.”

“Woow! Can I touch it?”

She smiles. “Yeah, you can touch it.”

It is her real hair. Jesus. And it’s soft to the touch; soft and bouncy and dense. It’s moisturised to the right degree – not so little that it feels fizzy and not so much that you have to wipe your fingers down your sweater to rid yourself of the excess grease. Everything about it says that there’s plenty of thought that has gone behind its regimen. It’s healthy hair. Health happy natural hair. I wonder if they’ll one day write a song about it.

“No, no don’t take off your shoes,” Mugethi says when she sees me bend down to unstrap my sandals. “My son is away in Naivasha with his grandparents and I sent the housegirl on leave, so it’s just me. Don’t mind the mess, ha-ha, my son left his toys everywhere. Come in, come in.”

Mugethi’s living room feels like a recreation of a stage production, or like a frequented section from a creative’s garage: along two windows on either side of the room, mattresses sit on wooden pellets with blankets folded atop of them; a sewing machine branded ‘South China’ is tucked in a corner next to low-lying pallets, it doubles up as a table; this table has a dizzying array of knickknacks – blue kitengee pouches with their drawstrings hanging loose, tall and stubby thick-walled glass jars of product capped with their metallic lids, little black bottles of essential oils, screw-on tubs of lip balm, lollipops, brown bags, sewing threads and buttons… it seems disorderly at first glance but, later, when Mugethi stands next to it and patiently explains to me what’s what, I see the meticulous cataloguing of testers, earlier versions of packaging, accessories, tags and half-completed thoughts.

This table is where the novelty of her old ideas meets the progress of the new ones. It’s the road map to what-next for her business. It’s a compass whose bearing she determines. Everything her business stands for – yesterday, today and tomorrow – stands on that table. If that table understood this, I’m certain it would collapse from the heft of its responsibilities. I admire that table.

On the other end of the living room, next to the kitchen door, is a wooden bookshelf with novels and children’s books stuffed in-between them.

I poke my nose in the air and sniff hard; I catch the whiff of shea butter suspended like a mist above the living room.

Mugethi and I seat across from each other at her dining table. She’s laid out a tray with a thermos of hot water, and Tupperware of tea bags, sugar and ginger nut biscuits. Mugethi invites me to make myself a cup of black tea, she keeps crotcheting.

“What’s that you’re making?” I ask as I set up my voice recorder and open a fresh page on my notebook.

“A demure cardigan for myself. I also made these leg warmers I’m wearing,” Mugethi pokes out one leg from under the table and I nod approvingly at her handiwork. “I just love crotcheting! I learned it from my mum, how to be a DIY person.” I look up ‘demure cardigan’ on Pinterest later. It has wings and flaps and all. Looks like it can double up as a parachute should the situation call for it.

“And you are able to multi-task,” I ask, “to pay attention and speak as you crotchet?”

“Oh yes, yes!” says Mugethi “I do it without thinking, really.”

Mugethi’s eyes open wide behind her glasses when she speaks. Her voice has a cadence that reflects what she’s speaking about: it rises when she’s talking about her son or her family or her business, and lowers when she talks about cracking under the pressure of employment. For the two hours that we speak, her fingers neither slip nor stutter as she crotchets and talks. This is the clearest example of the muscle memory at work.

“Alright, so we’ll chat like it’s a conversation,” I say, as I spoon two sugars and drop a tea bag into my mug of hot water, “just speak freely, OK? We’ll take it from the top and you’ll carry on from there. If I have questions I’ll jump in and ask, OK?”

Mugethi nods.


“Tell me about your family; about your siblings and your parents?”

Mugethi says, “Well, I’m the first in a family of four kids; I have only one brother. We grew up in Naivasha town. My father was a civil servant who bought for me many many books and encouraged me to read; I learned how to enjoy reading storybooks from him. My mum is an early childhood teacher, she’s always had kindergartens. There was one that was very famous when were growing up in Naivasha. She’s now a teacher in Doha, Qatar. Yes, everyone has an afro.”

“Who’s your favourite writer then?” I ask.



“Because she writes like me.”

“Or maybe it’s you that writes like her?”

Mugethi laughs. “Maybe. I blog by the way, Miss Mugethi dot com. You should check it out.”

Mugethi graduated from Moi University in 2004 with a major in Information Technology. She relocated to Mombasa soon after she graduated and started her work life. She was a college lecturer for one year then a high school teach for five – achieving some level of seniority, she says – and ran a string of side-hustles while at it: she ran a business centre which had a cyber cafe, then a simu ya jamii, then a bar and restaurant, designed wedding card invites and websites.

“Why were you running all these side-hustles?” I ask.

“It wasn’t really for the money,” she says. “It was for…” She pauses. “Running these side-hustles made me happy. Yeah, they made me happy.”

Mugethi returned to Nairobi in 2009 and worked for a year as an assistant on a government-funded project; they let her go because she became pregnant, she says. Mugethi had her son in October 2009 and was home on maternity leave for six months. After, she got a gig with a microfinance in Kariobangi that worked with orphans then became an Assistant Country Director with a donor-funded trust. On the side, she brokered land. She got into tech in 2013, and worked with the iHub and a coding school as a community manager (manages social media).

“My last job was as an operations manager with a tech start-up. The title was fancy but the work was crazy!” Mugethi says and chuckles. “I was doing operations so I was in-charge of admin, finances, HR, communications… It was a lot, and it even started affected me health-wise; my hair thinned and my lips turned black. I knew it was time to quit when I became stressed and I couldn’t do my job anymore. I remember this one time at a meeting when I cried…”

“Oh no, you didn’t –,” I say, putting my face in my palm.

“…and the men just looked at me and wondered what was wrong with me.”

“Oh noo.”

“…and it was so embarrassing for everyone.”

“Oh no!”

We laugh out aloud for a few moments.

I say, “You know what they tell us – us, as in women – about showing your tears in the workplace, right? Ha-ha.”

“I know!” Mugethi says. “Gosh, I know.”

(Raise your hand if you are a woman reading this and have never cried at work. OK, you can put your hand back down, you Show Off. Heehe.)

I catch my breath then ask, “Looking back at the things you’ve done and your colourful career, what has it taught you about yourself?”

Mugethi thinks for a moment and keeps crotcheting. Slowly, she says, “I learned that I’m resilient, versatile and have a diverse set of talents and skills.”


“Let’s talk about your hair. When did you go natural?”

Mugethi fixes herself a cup of tea and says, “I went natural in 2011. But you see, as a little girl, I didn’t have the opportunity to keep my natural African hair. When I was going to boarding school in form one, my mum put for me a straight kit because she said it would be easier hair to maintain. Straight cut was curly kit but you didn’t put in the curls and –.”

I interrupt Mugethi and say, “Man, I remember how oily those curly kits used to be.” We both chuckle. “Was it really called a ‘curly kit’ ama just ‘curls’? Wasn’t curly kit like, the kit that would make the curls?”

“I know, right! Ha-ha.”

“I remember on my mum and how oily it used to be,” I say. “She couldn’t can’t sit down without leaving a oily patch on the back of her seat. Plus my Ol’Man complained to her that the sink was always full of hair and oil.”

We both burst out in laughter.

Mugethi recomposes herself and continues, “So yeah, I relaxed my hair when I was joining campus and by that time Dark and Lovely had come and my hair took it so well. And my hair kept prospering after that until I had my baby in 2009. My hair used to go all the way down my back. But remember I told you about the difficult year I had in 2011, with work and stuff? Yeah. My hair thinned and it got weak.”

Mugethi shows me photos on her phone. She says, “Do you see it from that photo, right before I cut it – the old thin shiny hair and the new thick hair that was growing? Yes. I was worried about cutting it because I didn’t know how I’d look with short hair. Plus there was pressure from society to appear serious and professional, and it wasn’t by being natural. I made a conscious decision to defy these expectations.”

Mugethi pauses, sips from her cup of tea as she crotchets then says, “There also wasn’t much info about how to care for natural African hair. There were also no local products made specifically for natural hair, and hairdressers didn’t know what to do with it. All this was a disenfranchisement of the African culture – I started making these products and selling them because I wanted to get back our cultural pride.”

From 2011 to 2013, Mugethi experimented with oils she’d bought off the racks at beauty shops – olive, castor and coconut oil, essentials oils and beeswax. She’d mix them up and take note to how her hair responded to these homemade concoctions. Some concoctions made her hair happy, she says, others dried it out until it as wiry as sisal. She weaved her personal product experience with extensive Internet research until she became a natural hair care guru in her own right.

“In late 2013, a friend brought me shea butter from Ghana. It varied in thickness from the one I later bought from South Sudan. Sudanese call theirs ‘lulu’ and use it for cooking and as a body cream. Shea butter is grown along River Nile so I was also able to get some from north Uganda. I’d use it to cold-whip hair butter and lip balm, give the products away to my friends then I’d experiment again.”

So by the time Mugethi was quitting her job in 2016, she had good grasp of what shea butter can do for different types of natural hair when mixed to the right ratios with oils.

She made her first sale the October she left her job and since then, Mugethi has put her ears on the ground and listened to her customers’ feedback. She has majorly relied on it to tweak her formulations and expand her product range. Even her thoughtful packaging – the glass jars with the how-to-use tags, the pouches handmade from blue kitengee fabric, the butters that are stored in the refrigerator before dispatch – is in response to her customers feedback.

Mugethi says, “My customers have also been asking for me to make leave-in condition and shampoo, so my cosmetologist and I are in the process of formulating them.”

We’re silent for a few moments as I go through the story and structure it in my head. I ask reflectively, “What has this first year in business been like? What has it taught you?”

“It’s been an adventure!” Mugethi says. “I’ve grown fearless and resourceful. My business is not paying me a salary yet I work on it full time, I’ve never been this broke in my life.” Mugethi scoffs. “I’ve also learned to become a negotiator – negotiating with my son’s school for fees, negotiating with my suppliers of raw materials, negotiating with my landlord for rent…” She laughs out aloud. In a soft voice, she adds, “The business breaks-even each time I sell a product but I’ve had to continue with some of my side-hustles to stay afloat.

“I’m at a crucial stage now because the business is rapidly growing; I have repeat customers and we sell at least seven items every day. I sell mostly through social media and at the K1 flea market every Sunday. I produce on Thursdays and Saturday, and sometimes on a day in between the week when stuff has run out. Last April, I got a campus student to assist me with production and making deliveries; she really got a lot off my chest. ”


Weeks later, I return to Mugethi’s place to watch her produce a batch of Extra-rich body butter.

In the kitchen, I watch as Mugethi measures the beeswax and uses formulas on an Excel worksheet to determine the quantities of shea butter and cocoa butter she’ll use in proportion. She measures them to the gram using a digital weighing scale, allowing a small margin of error. These formulas are her trade secret.

She puts the wax and butters in a sufuria to double boil, then let’s them cool in the refrigerator. When they are cooler and a softer shade of color, Mugethi uses an electric mixer to whip up all the ingredients to a consistent degree. Then, she uses a tea spoon to pack the product into the glass jars. She puts the jars into the refrigerator, where they’ll be tagged before being dispatched to her clients.

The entire process of production takes two hours.


What Mugzie’s Naturals offers
– Hair butter
– Body butter
– Extra-rich body butter (with cocoa butter)
– Stretch mark cream
– Beard cream for men
(250gm pack at Sh650. Jumbo pack at Sh1,000)
– Lip butter: A tube at Sh300
– Shower melts: 3 rocks at Sh300
– Bentonite clay: Jumbo pack at Sh650
– Essential oils (lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, clove and tea tree): 100ml bottles at Sh300

Reach Mugethi
Facebook: Mugzie’s Naturals
Instagram: Mugzie’s Naturals
Cell phone: 0722383289

The raw materials – beeswax and cocoa butter

The raw materials after they’ve been double boiled then cooled

The cooled butters whisked and ready for packing

Product packed into a 250gm jar then to the refrigerator

A tagged product ready for dispatch

Some of the other products Mugethi makes/sources and sells

Nyambura and FunPatch Shoes
Craft It Christmas

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our content

Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.