Thank you for returning to my blog and journeying along the #WinterABC2021 Challenge by Afrobloggers with me. If you have been frequenting my blog, you know that I started an original series called Business E-nterview in line with the Business and Technology theme for this week of the challenge.
Through the Business E-nterviews, I am honoured to feature entrepreneurs as they share their lived experiences on business strategies, use of technology and the impact of the pandemic on their businesses.
For today’s edition, I crossed the Zambian borders and virtually travelled to Zimbabwe, to dialogue with an entrepreneur called: Sie’s Hair Glamour.
Please, enjoy our e-dialogue below:
- How would you describe your business in 5 words?
2. What made you choose the industry you are in?
- It was really out of desperation. Back in high school, it was quite stressful to try and get your hair done. You had to have money or food to trade with (lol), or a hairdresser friend who also plaited so you could easily trade services. I used to share mu dormitory with one neat hair braider. She’s the one who sparked my interest into the business of braiding.
3. What is that one thing that you feel sets you apart from competitors in the industry?
- Well, I’ve been told that I’m super neat. I specialize on braided hairstyles than weaves and that honesty is what most clients always need. I have had clients chat to me about how bad an experience they had with other hairdressers who because of the money temptation could not admit that they have a particular limit in hairdressing. I believe I stand out because I’m good at what I specialize at. Also, i don’t operate from a saloon but I always make sure that I first wash my client’s hair before braiding, something which is hardly common among ‘under the tree, location based ‘ braiders.
4. When did you start your business and what are some of your key milestones so far?
- I started braiding round about 2013. Back then it was a mere means of affording a hairstyle or pocket money when I was at school. I will also admit that for years, I hadn’t thought of it as a business as most of the money used would be spent on sweet nothings (I guess it’s part of growing up).
- My key milestones include being able to get basic equipments for my business. I realized that to really hook people, I needed to do what the saloons do. So, for example, when I studied that people often go for a hair wash in saloons, only for them to be back again in the hood to plait under the tree, I figured I could give them a reason not to go to saloons at all
5. Has technology impacted your business in any way?
- Yes. Very much so. We are always intrigued by how fast word travels, and while that aspect can have some negative elements, it has proved the importance of technology on business. I have had people call me to make appointments, most of whom would have heard of the hairdresser’s tale from other clients.
- It is also wide reaching to use the online space for marketing
6. What would you list as the advantages and disadvantages of running a business in a pandemic?
•Low clientele turn out. Since most of the people were on lockdown, at work or schools, they preferred to have little or no fancy hairdos. They would just rock their buns, and nobody would care anyway.
•The harsh economic conditions, due to the pandemic effects would also have most clients not spending the way they used to as they would go for a long lasting hairstyle
•Ample time to reflect on how best you could run your business.
•The pandemic has led to people becoming woke, in line with how fast changing business could be when affected.
7. What are some of you customer retaining techniques?
- I usually do promotions for my clients. On my birth month, May, this year I ran a first come first serve promotion for two clients I was willing to plait for free as a way of celebrating my birth month.
- I have also realized that offering ‘saloon-like’ services has helped me with retaining new clients who would express that I seem to be doing things differently than what they’re used to.
- I also try to be as professional as possible
8. Any closing remarks?
- One of the many things I have had to master in running a business, or trying to run one is you need to be very much disciplined. Coming from a background where things always run out when you just got that cash (literally), has taught me the importance of planning. Best believe you will keep using your business money to cover home stuff (which is not bad), and your business will have a hard time trying to run on it’s own.
- When you start a business, it’s important to not wrecklessly spend all your profits, otherwise you will always stay on level zero
Access Sie’s Hair Glamour here: https://instagram.com/sie_miyae
Fun Fact, Sie is also a blogger and her work can be accessed here: https://glamourfill.wordpress.com/
Blogger’s remarks: It was my absolute honour profiling Sie. One key take away from this interview is that she mentioned having ample time to reflect on the business as an advantage from the pandemic. So profound. I am a firm believer of the power of thinking lol sounds cliche. But really, there is so much strength in stepping back from the life’s busy lane and just PAUSING and REFLECTING.
Thankyou so much for your time Sie, I hope to visit Zimbabwe soon as I am able to and have my hair braided by you 🙂
Today marks the last day of the Business & Tech Week. It has been amazing reading the various takes and styles fellow bloggers employed. Needless to say, my end of week recap and highlights are still scheduled to roll out.
Furthermore, this is definitely not the end of the Business E-nterviews. I will occasionally publish more of this content and hopefully profile as many businesses as I can across Africa.
I am beyond excited for this!
Read on & Live long!