The inspiration for entrepreneur Sanele Dlamini to establish her clothing retail and beauty business, Flexy, came from the need to create an economic future for herself. Today she is doing much more, creating future career paths for other young women in her country.
LoA found out more about this ambitious young entrepreneur during a recent Lioness Lean In event in Swaziland.
What does your company do?
At Flexy, we are building a successful clothing boutique and specialist nail spa.
“We offer clothing retail and nail services under one roof which is convenient to our clients who have busy schedules, meaning that they are able do their nails and shop for their wardrobes in one location.”
What inspired you to start your company?
Lack of employment after graduating with a Bcom Degree.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
We collect fashion pieces from all around the world and sell them in Swaziland and a few surrounding countries such as Mozambique and South Africa. We also offer manicure and pedicure treatments to both ladies and gents. We are not only doing nails for beauty but also for medicinal reasons, to help alleviate such conditions as fungi and diabetes. We offer clothing retail and nail services under one roof which is convenient to our clients who have busy schedules, meaning that they are able do their nails and shop for their wardrobes in one location.
“I would like to grow the nail salon part of the business into a school where I could train students.”
Tell us a little about your team
I voluntarily rotate my team yearly. We are currently a team of four young ladies who all joined the company without training due to their lack of funds to study after high school, or because they are breadwinners in their families and had to get a job immediately after high school. I train the ladies myself and when we are able to, we attend workshops such as the Beauty Expo in South Africa, which offers specialist short courses. Once they can pay for tuition, some ladies study part-time too, while others eventually are able to open their own nail salons.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Yes, I do come from an entrepreneurial background. My late mom used to make bedding, duvet covers and pillow cases, and sell them in our community. She managed to assist my dad in supporting our family. I trained in nail technology immediately after completing high school before I had a job and continued on when I was working full-time. I would do nails at lunch time and after work. It added to my salary. When I lost my last job and struggled to find work, I knew I had to follow in my mom's footsteps and make a living one way or another.
“What gives me the most satisfaction is making a difference in another person’s life, especially with the ladies I work with and my lady clients.”
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I would like to grow the nail salon part of the business into a school where I could train students. It is a skill of art that doesn't require an A in mathematics. So many people can benefit and make a living instead of waiting for a job, which might never happen considering the current economic situation of our country.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Making a difference in another person’s life, especially with the ladies I work with and my lady clients. We become a family whenever they come through into the store and salon, to share ideas, get advice, de-stress and laugh out loud while they shop or have their nails done.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
No matter how audacious your dreams may seem, don’t look at where you are from or what you have, go for it and once you start don't give up, no matter the situation.
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Why LoA loves it….
Many women entrepreneurs understand the power of paying it forward in their businesses and for Sanele Dlamini, that is certainly the case. Her business ensures that other young women with potential get the opportunity to be trained in retail and nail salon business and technical skills, providing them with an economic future. Sanele is a great example of a woman entrepreneur who makes a difference and thinks about the impact she can make, each and every day, through her business acumen. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa