Sylvia Wakhisi interviewed our director Elizabeth. Read the interview as they talk about the initial inspiration and the treatments we offer
Published: | February 28, 2015
By Sylvia Wakhisi
When Elizabeth Simiyu finally gave birth to her first born son, she was overjoyed.
“I was very excited to have my son. Children teach you responsibility and give you the drive to get up and go through each day with a positive attitude.
I have achieved far greater things in the years I have had my son compared to before he was born,” she says.
She says as a first-time mother, she was initially overwhelmed. “As much as you read books and get told ‘how to’ solutions, every child is different.
I used to break out in a sweat every time I thought about breastfeeding, something that is easily mastered with time and practice,” she says.
She was lucky to have a very supportive structure in the form of her four sisters who all, except one, had babies before her. They coached her on what to anticipate. She looked forward to motherhood.
But Liz, as her sisters call her, had gained loads of post-baby weight. She had naturally been ‘eating for two’ hence, she had gained quite a bit of weight. After delivery, those kilos just wouldn’t shift. She got bigger as her self-confidence got weaker.
“My body really bulged. My weight more than doubled. When I went shopping for clothes, I could not find my size and the words, ‘we don’t have anything that will fit you here’ kept ringing in my head. It proved to be a daunting task, yet in campus, I was always a size 12,” says Liz.
“When I weaned my baby, I ballooned to a point where looking in the mirror was not an option,” she recounts.
In her quest to lose weight, Liz tried various methods including jogging, going to the gym and even dieting, but they did not work. Instead of losing weight she gained even more.
Devastated, she decided to do some research for a method that could help her shed off the extra calories fast.
“The Internet became my best friend. I Googled and kept searching the net hoping I could find something positive that would help end my predicament,” she says.It was during her research that she came across a particular machine – the electrotherapy machine.
“I looked around and found out that there were people in Nairobi who were already offering services using the machine. I decided to try it out and the results were amazing,” she says.
Liz was so impressed with the results such that she decided to import an electrotherapy machine and when it continued to work for her, she turned the experience into a business. That’s how she started Slim Therapy; a group of weight loss, beauty and wellness spas, was born. Today, Liz is the company’s chief executive officer.
“By the time I started the treatment, I was a size 14 going on 16. Within one and a half months, I was down to a Size 10 and my weight went down from 75 kilos to 62 kilos!” she says.
“Although 75 kilos doesn’t sound too bad, my Body Mass Index (BMI) was not good,” she says. (BMI refers to the number calculated from a person’s weight and height, and it gives a reliable indicator of body fat for most people. It is often used to check whether a person is in a weight category that can lead to health problems).
“I decided to undergo further training on Faradic (slimming treatments) and nutrition. When you are doing electrotherapy, you also need to watch what you eat,” Liz explains.
Born in Nairobi in a family of six, Liz studied Electrical Engineering. She, however, says she has found a new passion and is ready to go to any lengths to ensure her business becomes the best in the region.
In May 2011, being the go-getter that she is, Liz opened a two-bed outlet to make the treatment accessible to other people who wanted to lose weight.
She offers: “A friend owned a shop along Westlands Road in Nairobi, and she decided to lend me one of the rooms she was not using and I could pay her the rent. After some time, the demand became high and that is when I decided to look for a bigger premise to meet the needs of the people.”
“The machine does muscle stimulation for you as you lie down. It has pads that are placed strategically on the areas of your body you want to trim and tone, which for me was my tummy. It feels like it’s grabbing and releasing.
It will send penetrating impulses into the muscle.
It creates a significant energy demand on the muscles hence, surrounding fat cells are burned for energy.
In addition, the deep muscle stimulation helps tighten and tone the skin and improve circulation,” she says.
The intensity of the treatment is varied upwards, gradually for the client’s comfort. It is combined with a balanced portion-based nutrition plan.
Electro Muscle Stimulation, according to Liz, aids weight loss through promotion of your metabolism by muscle stimulation and increased blood circulation
“Our treatments are hard to understand hence, the need to sit down with clients and explain to them how the machine does the fat loss. Our target clients include middle-aged men and women, sports people who have sustained injuries, women who have just had babies and are trying to get rid of the post-baby weight, and older individuals who may not be able to undergo vigorous exercise.
On the other hand, I have been lucky to get good word-of-mouth referrals. The reactions have been very positive,” says Liz.
Male clients also benefit from the effects of the slimming treatments. Their results are on average, evident much faster than those of female clients because of a naturally higher metabolism.
Due to high demand, in 2012 she opened a branch in Mombasa and very recently another in South C. She plans to open one in Eldoret and another in Thika. Through the franchise model, Liz also plans to spread out to the entire East Africa region.
“We have had a lot of inquiries from Tanzania and we are ready to take up that opportunity. You need to be able to read the mood of the people you are serving and be there for them when they need your services,” she says.
The slimming packages include three days weekly for a month at a cost of Sh 11,000, another for five days weekly, for a month at a cost of Sh 14,000, six days weekly for a month at a cost of Sh 17,000 and a post-baby membership for two months at a cost of Sh 18,000 (20 sessions). A ‘slim boot camp’ membership for three months at a cost of Sh 36,000.
Besides that, they also offer fish pedicure as a service at a cost of Sh 2,000.
“You get to pamper your hands and feet with our fish pedicure. When you place your feet in the aquarium, that is after cleaning them with the help of our professional staff, the fish eat the dead skin off your feet. By the end of the session, the feet become very smooth,” she explains
According to Liz, delegating duties has helped her keep her business running.
“I am very lucky to have such hard-working and loyal staff. I have six staff in our Westlands branch, five in Mombasa and one in our South C branch.
I delegate a lot and do continuous training on my staff so that our clients are able to get good service.”
Though it has been a slow and earnest journey, Liz admits that there have been challenges that almost crushed them.
“In 2012, we had a break-in at the Westlands branch. We lost all four machines. I contemplated closing down but through the support of family and friends, I got back on my feet. I thank God for that,” says Liz.
Her confidence has grown ever since she adopted a healthy lifestyle, and so does her vision for Slim Therapy.”My desire is that we become the trusted partner in weight management, wellness and beauty in East Africa. When a client comes back to tell me they lost a particular amount of weight, I feel happy and always thank God for the success we have,” says Liz.