Ivorian-born Krewhouwen and her family moved to Paris when she was five years old. At 17, the statuesque beauty started modelling in both France and Ivory Coast, while pursuing a diploma in languages.
Now living in Cape Town, she’s spreading her entrepreneurial wings with the upmarket Lume brand. “Getting into the beauty business was simply a continuation of the beauty and fashion industry for me. I started with the cosmetic store in Ivory Coast, followed by another in the Democratic Republic of Congo. When I moved to SA, my aim was to build on what was already here and communicate my passion for beauty to the locals.”
Despite her considerable experience in the industry, translating her vision into a business was a big challenge for Krewhouwen.
“It felt as if I was getting married again! Knowing exactly what I wanted and watching it being brought to life was exciting. The planning was done here and I was involved all the way, down to the height of the cupboards and size of the drawers. It was challenging, but I learnt that it’s important to have a grip on everything that’s happening in your business in order to manage it properly.”
A savvy businesswoman, she saved money during her modelling career to finance the project. “I had a contract with Vlisco at the time, which helped me accumulate capital to open my store in Ivory Coast.”
That outlet birthed several others which she owns all over Africa.
Krewhouwen’s particularly proud of her brand’s commitment to excellence. “People need to experience exceptional service. We want our clients to feel important and they’re offered a glass of champagne on arrival. I stock only the best products at Lume, such as those for Oribe haircare. We and the Four Seasons Hotel are the only local distributors of these American products. My hairdressers have big names in the industry and I ensure that my staff get the best training from a European team in using products like Biologique Recherge. I want my clients to feel the difference.”
Lume’s only in its first year, but Krewhouwen already plans to expand the brand into the rest of SA.
“We’re doing exceptionally well and our growth’s on track At the end of the day, it’s not only about the money – I really love what I do and hair and beauty are my arts. This is my passion. However, when money does start coming in, things will be even better!”