Over the past 35 years, this inspirational woman entrepreneur has risen from difficult beginnings in life, to the head of a major retail business success story that is the model for many others to follow.
Margaret Hirsch’s difficult start in life, with the death of her father when she was 11 years old, and her placement in foster care for a short period whilst her mother’s circumstances improved, probably gave her the fortitude needed to meet every challenge thereafter in life with fearlessness.
"I hope that I can be an inspiration to others to know that they can live their dreams as well."
Margaret’s entrepreneurial journey began when she and her husband both lost their jobs at the same time, and with two children and no income, they pooled their small financial resources (just R900, or US$90) and their considerable talents, and set up their first business - a home appliance repair and maintenance shop. Over the years spent building the business, Margaret has regarded herself as a true ‘jack of all trades’, doing everything from selling the goods, to invoicing, demonstrating new products on the shop floors, delivering goods on the trucks to customers, installing and demonstrating new equipment in customers’ homes, and generally overseeing the running of the company on a day to day basis.
"Dream big. Set your goals. Work towards whatever you want in life, because you can get it."
As a result, that small fledgling business started 35 years ago, has grown steadily from a tiny ‘mom and pop’ store, over the years to become what is today the largest independently owned appliance and electronics retail company in South Africa, valued at over a billion rands. Hirsch’s Home Stores now has multiple branches in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Cape Town.
Today, Margaret is a champion of women’s empowerment and is a firm believer in the power of giving back to the community, especially to those who are experiencing difficult personal situations, and making a positive difference in society. Having experienced a tough start in life, she now encourages all her employees to improve their personal circumstances by working hard, educating and training themselves, and as a result, uplifting both themselves and those around them.