While working as a brand manager at Dark and Lovely in 2014, Ayanda says she gained expertise and skills that have played an immense role in her current business venture.

In her role, Thabethe was responsible for managing the Dark and Lovely brand, launching new products and handling the digital marketing.

“I’ve always been in hair in one way or another. After leaving corporate, I got into the entertainment industry and even in that space I needed to always ensure that my image is of high standard – you constantly have to look good,” she says.

Side by side with her business partner, Lindelwa Nkambule who is the Business Unit Manager at Mizani, the two ladies created a luxurious space for women to not only do their hair and nails but also spend time with their friends.

“We decided to own the channels that we have and put together a strong team of passionate and experienced hairstylists who are going to provide exceptional service when it comes to hair, nails and beauty, she says.

“Liyanda is more than a salon, it’s a luxurious space where women would want to do their hair.”

Lindelwa who’s been working with the professional brand Mizani for six years brought in her expertise in the professional environment at Liyanda. “Mizani wrote the Bible in terms of how salons should be operating, what they should incorporate, the mood, products, space – everything, which has really helped us raise the bar in terms of our look, feel and service,” she says.

Based in Sunnyside road, Melrose, the business is targeted at black clientele who want to look and feel good. Whether you’d like extensions, a haircut, braids or to take care of your natural hair, do your nails or get some pampering, Liyanda can provide that service.

The name Liyanda is a combination of Ayanda and Lindelwa’s name. Their pastor added an encouraging twist to the name which is ‘liyanda icebo lenkosi’ meaning God’s idea of their lives is expanding.

What sets Liyanda apart is how the ladies have raised the bar in terms of the professionalism. “Our main focus is service and making sure every customer that walks in leaves 100% satisfied and come back,” she says.

The biggest challenge Thabethe and Nkambule encountered while starting their business was finding the right people who believed in their venture. “Finding the right people who are willing to invest their time, skills and expertise into something new was a hard task, she says. But the relationships we created while in the corporate space have really pulled us through.”