Getting a formal education did not stop Indalio Nubian Naturals owner and founder Smangele Sibisi from expressing her talent at a larger scale.
At the tender age of nine, Sibisi was already turning heads with her talent at styling hair and often used her grandmother as the perfect beauty canvass.
No older than 10 years old, Sibisi showed promise as a business woman when she garnered in her first set of paying clients.
After completing her high school studies, Sibisi was on a path to learn more about the beauty and hair industry. However, her dream was brought to a halt when she could not pay for her tertiary fees.
Hungry for new challenges, Sibisi asked her employers to open a new branch that she could manage.
When they refused, citing how young she was for the opportunity, Sibisi decided to explore running her own business and started the harrowing bold venture from her own home.
What makes Ndalo Nubian Hair Salon so unique from its competitors?
It’s very affordable. Besides doing people’s hair, it’s also educational. Now and then I do a lot of research and then I pass it on to my stylist and then they pass it on to the clients. My staff is also passionate about what they do.
What was the biggest difficulty you had to face when you started your business?
Finance, finance, finance! That is number one. There was a time where I struggled to pay rent for three months and once I had to pay in halves. Secondly it was finding stylists, it had to be people I could gel with. They had to have the same drive.
How important is social media in running your business?
Ninety percent of our people are from social media…there was one time I made a mistake. I was overwhelmed. A lady posted a review on Faceboook and she was not impressed about the process of our walk-ins and I responded in a way that when I look back at it now I know I should never have responded that way.
How you respond to your social media followers plays a role because there is someone who is going to read that response and that might drag your business down.
How do you resolve issues pertaining to negative social media responses like the one you have mentioned?
I sent her a message separately, I apologise and offered her a free service. You can’t be a careless person, follow up on your clients...I gave her a free service, I told her her hair will be done by me and she was happy.
Having dealt with an anxiety attack while dealing with your busy schedule, how do you cope?
I had to give jobs to other people. It was difficult because I had to be at home and be on medication that would help me lower down. I think I took the medication for a month-and-a-half and then I stopped.
I told them, ‘guys, this thing is slowing me down.’ Me getting slowed down worried me even more because I am a fast-paced person. So, they told me that I will have to delegate work to other people and just do less. It wasn’t easy to detach myself but I had to.
What would you like other youth to take away from your journey in business?
I was once told I’m too much, stick to your level, that I can’t be something else and I remember just stepping out of that comfort zone. I explored instead of being stuck inside a box.