Entrepreneurship is not only about building and running your own business, but also about offering a solution to a problem as well as having the passion and perseverance to see it through.
This is the approach of sisters Hope Lukoto and Tshilidzi Makhari and their business partner, Kelebogile Mashigo. These three women entrepreneurs are the founders of the Kurlz & Kutz hair salon in Rosebank, Johannesburg, which specialises in hair care for children. They emphasise that the salon caters for all types of hair.
The salon is specifically designed to take the "guesswork" out of which haircare products work for which consumers.
Hope, a mother of two and a trained clinical psychologist, coach and an HR professional, is originally from Venda and holds a Masters in Psychology from the University of Pretoria.
She explains: "I have a little girl and her grooming needs have been my inspiration for the business. I enjoy imparting good grooming skills to both my kids, teaching them to love themselves, to love taking care of themselves and to appreciate who they are."
The three entrepreneurs identified a gap in the market for children's haircare services from the perspective of the appropriate environment as well as haircare products.
Tshilidzi, from Soweto, is a married mother of two daughters. She is currently an investment professional with a chemical engineering background from Wits University.
She explains: "The salon was born out of the countless frustrations my older daughter and I experienced each time I took her to a salon. The issues we faced ranged from the "hostile environment" created by the sound of blow driers, big overwhelming chairs, adults milling around and dealing with stylists asking me if they can use some relaxer products to soften her hair to make it more manageable."
That inspired her entrepreneurial idea.
"Eventually my sister and I decided to address these frustrations and, based on my engineering background, we developed a children's haircare range and opened a salon which provides a nurturing and calming environment for children, and hair techniques that ensure no pain and no tears and promote healthy hair growth.
"We seek to change the narrative that 'you suffer for your own beauty' and 'natural hair is difficult'. We also empower parents with the knowledge on how to take care of their children's hair at home," she says.
Kelebogile, a marketing brand manager with an MBA in International Luxury Brand Management, which she studied for in France, says: "The hair salon was born out of a need and passion amongst the three of us. My partners both have young children and they were constantly frustrated about the lack of excellent service and care for children's hair."
She always had a deep interest in haircare since her first job at Unilever, and that interest steadily developed into a passion for ingredients, products and general care for hair.
"Out of this wonderful mix our new hair franchise was born. We have also recently created a haircare range that caters for all hair types as well. Our aim is to really create a wonderfully nurturing environment for all children and their parents, and to change our world one head at a time," she says.
Kurlz & Kutz’s objective is to solve a problem for many parents.
Their selling point includes having a salon that has plenty for kids to do while parents can keep themselves engaged with the free Wi-Fi and work station or they can get their own hair or nails done.
The salon has been nominated for the 6th Annual African Hair Awards in the Kiddies Hair Salon of the Year category. The award ceremony will be in Durban in December 2018.
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