Are 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.’
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