Nickson Kasue, Co-owner of Zuri and Company was born and raised in Kenya. At the age of 19, Kasue moved to the United States to fulfill a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Kasue holds a B.S. degree from the University of Utah and a Master’s degree from Weber State University.
Today, Kasue and his wife Judy own and operate Zuri and Company, a beauty supply manufacturer, distributor and resource for professionals in the beauty industry. The company employs a team of 18 industry professionals that oversee product development and sales. The company also provides educational workshops about the use and application of their specialty products which includes hair extensions, skin wefts, hair feathers and other accessories.
“We have created products that cannot be found anywhere else, and we are a one-stop shop for people in the beauty industry,” says Kasue. “We offer competitive prices and innovative products, and on top of that our workshops help other professionals improve their own businesses.”Kasue has specialized in innovative product development since Zuri and Company launched in 2005. The company now offers over 1000 products that are distributed throughout the world–including his home country of Kenya.
In the spring of 2012, Kasue contacted the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Salt Lake City for help to expand his international business and pull some cash out of the business to reduce his need for additional financing. “We were looking for ways to re-energize the company to move it forward,” says Kasue. “I needed advice and understanding about how to restructure the company.”
Kasue enrolled in BizSmart, a 12-week SBDC course which examines a wide range of business planning topics including finances, value propositions, market research, and determining costs and margins. A counselor at the SBDC also worked with Kasue to better uncover his contribution margins. “That was a major turning point for me, it was like a light bulb went off in my head,” says Kasue. “It helped me set my prices better, and helped me release my sitting inventory, which freed up our cash flow.”
“Nickson has done everything right,” says Kris Heslop, Counselor at the SBDC. “We worked with him to meet his growth objectives, and he has been committed to meeting all of his goals. He really cares about the businesses success, and he is a great person to know and work with.”Since Kasue began working with the SBDC he has established several new international agreements for wholesale distribution in Singapore, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and Japan. Kasue has also expanded exports to both the United Kingdom and Canada, and has begun negotiations with Mexico. “Since I began working with the SBDC my business has more than doubled in revenue,” says Kasue. “That is very significant.”