When former Metro FM Brand Sales Manager Nthabeleng Nhlapho decided to take a leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship it felt like she was answering a calling. Having grown up in an entrepreneurial home, she says it was inevitable that she would one day follow suit.
In 2016, Nhlapho tapped into a much-needed market – a kiddies’ salon for black children called Afro Kids.
“It became apparent that many mothers like me are uncomfortable with having to take their young daughters to adult hair salons where the environment is not conducive for little budding minds, and stylists do not have patience with children,” she says.
Today Afro Kids is a thriving business, a feat she attributes to, among other factors, stellar customer service and a personal touch.
“The most important type of marketing that any business can have is positive word of mouth. I place a great deal of focus on creating a wonderful experience for our little princes and princesses,” Nhlapho was quoted telling bossladies.co.za.
“I have spent a lot of energy working with the stylists at Afro Kids so that they understand exactly what experience I want every single one of our young customers to have, as well as their busy moms and dads. When I hear that someone has not had the ideal experience, I personally call them to make good.”
It’s a principle that Phumzile Nala can relate to because she practices it in her business on a daily basis.
Earlier this year Nala started Pumzi’s Pretty Petals, a flower shop in Roodepoort, after attending one of Santam’s consumer financial education workshops. In just six months her business is starting to record steady growth.
“At the beginning I went through a lot of teething problems and had to take credit in order to keep the shop open,” she says.
While this could have posed a stumbling block for others, Nala says she soldiered on. She soon figured out that as a small player in a larger sector, and being unable to compete with the big players from a price-point perspective, the only way she was going to differentiate herself was by making sure she offers a personalised and meaningful experience for every customer.
“We take time to teach our clients about our different offerings and that is something they will not find in bigger stores,” she says.