- Player: Jennifer Glodik
- Company: The Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre
- Visit: divabeautystudio.com and www.divaglobal.net
Jennifer Glodik always planned to be an entrepreneur. She launched her first business after moving to South Africa from Russia in her early 20s. “There’s a lot of opportunity in South Africa,” she says. “It was just a case of choosing the industry I wanted to be in.”
For Glodik, there are three industries that people will always spend money in: Food, clothing and beauty. “I’ve never enjoyed cooking, and I didn’t think there was room for a new clothing brand in the South African retail space — it’s already a highly competitive market.”
Beauty was different. Coming from Eastern Europe, Glodik was used to a level of product and service that she didn’t believe was available in South Africa. This was an area where she saw both a need and an opportunity to bring something new to the market.
One of the areas she felt local salons were most lacking in was knowledge. “None of the beauty therapists I met could tell me how the various treatments they offered worked,” she says.
“If you don’t understand how a treatment works, you probably don’t understand the client’s needs either. I wanted to be able to analyse the client and the problems they were experiencing, and then offer the right solution to them.”
Finding the right channel
Glodik had already studied general medicine in Russia, and she returned to research the beauty industry. She quickly narrowed her focus to skin and body treatments, and concentrated on finding local experts.
“I found a cosmetologist who was running her own salon, but had started a training academy as well, Cosmetologists of Russia. Through her I did an advanced theoretical and practical cosmetology course and I was introduced to the equipment and products she used for her treatments.”
These included non-surgical ultrasound liposuction and 9 in 1 machines, and Spanish product companies Postquam Professional and Casmara. “The machines and the products are expensive, but they’re extremely good quality and they give great results.”
Returning to South Africa, Glodik used her new knowledge, skills, training and contacts to launch the Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre, her first salon located in Johannesburg. Before long she started gaining traction and a steady, solid client base, and opened a second salon in Menlyn.
“Cosmetology’s core focus is to eliminate, treat or hide a problem. The cosmetologist’s role is to determine which courses of action are possible, and to then discuss these with their client. Costs versus solution and what’s best for that particular client work together to choose the ultimate course of action.”
Through this process, Glodik and her team have discovered deeper medical issues in the past, referring clients to their doctors or specialists before any treatments are undertaken. They won’t treat serious skin conditions that require a dermatologist.
It’s then up to the equipment and products used to get results, which is why Glodik is fanatical about the brands she works with. “The success of the Diva brand lies in how well our treatments work, and the experience our clients receive. Knowledge, training and product understanding are key elements to the overall brand experience.”
With clients who travel from as far afield as Limpopo, Mafikeng and Witbank to Joburg for treatments, it’s clear that Glodik and her team see results — and that there’s a market for their beauty solutions.
Creating business opportunities
As the business grew and attracted more clients, Glodik started receiving enquiries: ‘Can you teach me how to do this? Your salons are incredibly busy – could I do this too?’
“I took stock of how we’d gotten to where we were, and I realised a few things: I was a professionally trained cosmetologist, which meant I had knowledge. I’d developed a business model through trial and error that worked, and I had joined the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, which was also honing my business skills. And I had the sole distribution rights to top-class equipment and beauty products.
“I had learnt my trade from a practising cosmetologist with her own salon and the same equipment and products. What was stopping me from doing the same in South Africa, with the added business training I could bring to the offering?”
With enquiries piling up, Glodik formalised the training she had already been giving to her beauty therapists, and developed business coursework.
To date, Diva has trained 54 salons. Each salon operates under its own brand; these are not Diva Beauty franchises. Instead, they receive a business in a box, complete with training and equipment. They can choose to purchase the products that Glodik offers at cost, or other products compatible with the machines.
Related: Finding The Perfect Franchise Fit
“This is a really great way to grow the business for me, but it’s also very rewarding. We’ve assisted women to build their businesses or start from scratch by giving them a solid foundation in both cosmetology and business as well as excellent equipment.
“90% of our clients come from corporate backgrounds. They want to do something new, but they don’t know anything about running their own businesses. The decision to offer a cosmetology course alongside a business course is what has really made this opportunity a success.”
Current market trends show that people are investing more heavily in their appearance and slimming products. Starting a salon that addresses this innate need of the target market to fulfil the desire to be the best looking version of themselves will undoubtedly endure the test of time, even in this economic climate.