Jenneth Ntsanwisi had dreamed of owning her own hair salon from the age of ten. “At school I had a different hairstyle every day,” she recalls. “When I finished high school I told my parents that I was going to do a hairdressing course and they were very much against it as they wanted me to go into a profession, but I insisted and went ahead anyway.”
From 1994 to 2006 she worked at several upmarket hair salons in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, including a seven-year stint in Waverley. She enjoyed every day of her work and had some great employers, but several years down the line, she knew she wanted more.
“I gained a huge amount of experience at these salons and that’s what finally gave me the courage and confidence I needed to think about starting my own business,” Ntsanwisi says.
She saved up enough money while she was still employed to start buying hair styling products and equipment, as well as furniture for her salon.
By August 2007, she was ready. She registered Jenneth’s Hair and Beauty Studio and resigned from her job.
“Luckily, I had a friend who was a hairstylist and who also wanted to start her own business. We rented premises in Houghton and shared the small space. I had only two chairs and one assistant, but I was lucky to also have an extremely loyal set of customers. I called every one of them and from the day the salon opened, I was busy all the time. It was wonderful to see how many had followed me.”
Earlier this year, Ntsanwisi’s client base had grown so big that it was time to move. The salon is now located in the 4-star Protea Hotel Wanderers in Illovo. She has 12 chairs, and employs three hairdressers, an apprentice and a receptionist.
“My clients are like family,” she says. “That’s why the salon has become so popular. They can call on me whenever they need to, and I will always find a way to fit them in, and even to hear them out when they just need someone to talk to.”
The one challenge of being an excellent stylist is that clients often insist on having their hair done by her alone, but she is working hard on getting them to be equally comfortable with everyone on her team.
“Success is about finding out what you are good at and doing it no matter what,” she says. “It doesn’t come easy, but if you are prepared to take a few risks, the pay-off is extraordinary.”
Player: Jenneth’s Hair and Beauty Studio
Company: Jenneth Ntsanwisi
Contact:+27 (0)11 022 1660