Salon secrets

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Salon SecretsAre you a trendsetting young professional in Jozi? A cosmopolitan urbanite? One of the upmarket elite? Well, then, you’ve got to check out the new luxury hair salon, Mane Salon at Melrose Arch.

The brainchild of Thembeka Johnson, former beauty editor of O, The Oprah Magazine and True Love, Mane Salon brings to market a compelling blend of South African style and global trends and best practice.

We spoke to the emerging ‘womentrepreneur’ in the beauty space about starting your own beauty salon and the inspiration behind her new salon.

BeautySA: Where did you first start? How did your very first salon come about?

Thembeka: ‘I started in 2009 with my nail spa, L’Ongle Spa, at Melrose Arch. Through my travels I visited a lot of beauty spas and the idea to open my own started. With having children, it has always been my plan to own my working hours so as to be available to my family. So the fact that I don’t have to necessarily source stock from overseas makes it easier for me to manage my business. And of course the LOVE of beauty.’

BeautySA: What were some of the challenges you faced then and now?

Thembeka: ‘In general there are not too many challenges with the actual business, but the biggest challenge that continues to be is that of managing staff. Retaining staff for long is still a challenge but I’m still doing better in that department than most salons (I’m told), so there is hope.’

BeautySA: Your salon caters to all lengths and styles, which is great, but would it be wise for a first-time salon-owner to offer all of these? Would she/he be able to cope with all those demands?

Thembeka: ‘I think it’s absolutely imperative that a salon is able to offer a wide range of services to be able to survive. Having a huge demand is a welcome problem for any business.’

BeautySA: What international salon trend do you think we’ll see in SA in 2013?

Thembeka: ‘The lovely thing about technology (especially the Internet), is that we get to know and see what’s trending all over the world at the same time as everyone. So whatever new trend that’s still to happen we’ll make sure to offer as well.’

BeautySA: Where do you see the South African salon industry going?

Thembeka: ‘From the research I did before opening my salon, the feeling from most salon owners is that they would like to see SA salons getting opportunities to compete at the international level.’

BeautySA: Why do you think so many salons fail in SA?

Thembeka: ‘I don’t have a definite answer but I suspect it could be a number of wrong moves, like choosing a bad location and staff problems. And maybe also not being available to see what is happening in your salon.’

BeautySA: What was your inspiration behind Mane?

Thembeka: ‘Mane is really an extension of L’ongle Spa. The clientele is diverse and well travelled. I was inspired by their passion for grooming and staying on trend. Moreover, the fact that there is no other black hair salon in the area, was a huge inspiration.’

BeautySA: What are the three things anyone who wants to open a hair salon needs to know?

Thembeka: ‘Have passion for hair. Be patient with staff members. Be patient with clients.’

Other articles you may be interested in:
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The top 10 most requested celeb hairstyles
The top 6 matric dance hirstyles
The top 4 salon treatments
Love your hair with DRUM
The latest celeb hair styles
Argan oil, the new miracle oil
Styling iron showdown
Hair trends for 2013

Written by

Megan Kakora has helped launch the websites of, and been the online editor for, some of South Africa’s biggest glossy magazines. She believes in less-is-more, except when it comes to her collection of nail polish colours.
Megan on Google+

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  1. NaturalDiva

    Awesome article! Thank you for sharing such a brilliant interview.

    4 years ago •

  1. Siphe_Kondze

    Wooowwww I am so inspired!!! It is time I got up and my dream a reality :)

    4 years ago •

  1. Nwamba

    She is living my dream! thanks for the article.

    4 years ago •

  1. Pulane

    I’m so dreaming of having a salon, this passion lives forever!!! Thank you.

    5 years ago •

  1. Charmee

    Any salon in Cape Town you would recommennd?

    5 years ago •

  1. Pulane

    I’m inspired, great article indeed!!!

    5 years ago •

  1. Leonie_van_Zyl

    Passion for hair….yes, I do agree

    5 years ago •

  1. Noma

    Big up to you sister… keep on shining..

    5 years ago •

  1. Nuuh

    Great article I like what Thembeka has to say to people who want to open salons great advice

    5 years ago •

  1. Cass1231

    Nice article, great when you can be so passionate about your job!

    5 years ago •

  1. Lady-T

    Great interview,….Thembeka is a very confident lady–Red lips, and coat say it and her perfect smile confirms it

    5 years ago •

  1. Livvy

    lovely reading, and very competitive industry.

    5 years ago •

  1. Tasha

    Yes, Patience is a big thing when you work in customer service.

    5 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    Have passion for whatever it is you do! Great article!

    5 years ago •

  1. Riekie

    Good article, recently I asked what it would cost to just colour my roots – R600 no cut and dry, where if I colour my whole head with cut and dry at the same salon is only R800 .. doesn’t even make sense to me. Now I colour my hair myself. The cut and dry I can always go to another salon

    5 years ago •

  1. Cat

    I think there are too many salons but very few quality salons. I certainly don’t want to pay R900 for my hair and leave feeling no difference…..everyone wants to step out of a salon feeling like a new woman

    5 years ago •

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