“My daughter was diagnosed with lactose intolerance at a young age. At first, we didn’t have any ice cream which is lactose-free in the market. So, in most cases when we travel, we couldn’t eat ice cream because when my child ate it, she would develop some reaction,” Rosemary Karoki, the founder of Watsy Lactose Free Ice cream company narrates.

She continues, “From there I started to do research on it and see if there is an alternative to common ice cream and I found out that I can make ice cream from lactose free milk, coconut milk and alternative milk other than cow’s milk. So, I started doing my experiment on how to incorporate ingredients and see which one work and which doesn’t and eventually came up with a product essentially for (my) family.”

Through the problem that her child had, Rosemary sought to solve that problem and eventually turned it into a profitable venture. She earns up to Ksh70,000 per month selling lactose free ice cream. She began in 2020 during covid-19 pandemic and since then her company has grown exponentially. She says that she had no idea of selling lactose free ice cream up until she posted on WhatsApp and someone asked her if she was selling the ice cream and that is how she realized she can make money out of it.

“I had no idea of selling ice cream but one day I posted it on WhatsApp and then someone asked me if I was selling it. That’s how I got the idea of selling it. That was in 2020 during the pandemic,” she recalls.

At the beginning stage, most entrepreneurial ventures are faced with tons of challenges that threatens the progress of a business. For Rosemary the main challenge was convincing people that her products were good and fit for human consumption.

“Convincing people that my products were legit and fit for consumption was a challenge because we have a notion that ice cream must have milk in it. So, whenever I delivered ice cream to certain clients they would ask of its tastes but when they taste it, they would say there is no difference with other ice creams,” she narrates.

Kiambu based cottage entrepreneur adds that delivering ice cream was also another challenge because it can easily be contaminated. She says that it wasn’t easy to find way to deliver product to customer without it getting contaminated. However, she had to find a way to do it. Moreover, cold season is another challenge because most people eat ice cream only when it is hot.

“Weather has been a challenge because most people eat ice cream only when it’s hot. So, during cold season, the sales are very low. However, I sell to foreigners when it’s cold because for them they eat ice cream on all seasons,” she says.

Capital was not a huge challenge for her since she only wanted to make ice cream for her family. She says when people said that when people showed interest of buying her ice cream, she started increasing production little by little until the she reached the capacity she is now. Her initial capital was Ksh3,000.


Rosemary sells her products both on whole sale and retail market. She uses social media especially Instagram to market her products because she finds many of her customers from the platform. She has also benefited on referrals where her customers introduces her to other prospective customers. “ I usually sell retail and wholesale and also supply to restaurants. I have really tried marketing myself and on social media especially Instagram because there is a lot of conversion on Instagram for me. Another thing that have really helped me is referrals. Whenever I deliver products to a client they will talk to someone else about the product and for some reason people who are lactose intolerant know each other so they can easily talk to one another,” she remarks adding that simplicity and precision carries the day in branding.      

Winning Health-preneurs award

Rosemary, 30, is a winner of She Awards under Health-preneurs awards of the year. She won the award last year thanks to her products which serves people who are lactose intolerant. “I was nominated for the She Awards under Health-preneur of the year and I won the award. I was very happy to be recognized and awarded,” she says.

Rosemary Karoki

Advice to budding entrepreneurs

To upcoming entrepreneurs, Rosemary advises aspiring entrepreneurs to avoid falling prey to social pressure and start businesses when they are ready. She adds that consistency is very key in ensuring your venture grows adding that there are customers for every business.

“When you have an idea in your head and you are ready, do it.  Not everyone will be your client but there is always a client for everybody. Some people will tell you that you can do this or that but it’s yourself to decide. Identify your niche and everything else will adjust. However, be very consistent because consistency pays,” she concludes.

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