Businesswoman balances motherhood and entrepreneurship

Glolooks founder wants to equip and empower women to benefit the nation

Refilwe Xaba is a mompreneur, the founder of Glolooks.
Refilwe Xaba is a mompreneur, the founder of Glolooks.
Image: Supplied

Globally, the number of women pursuing entrepreneurship is increasing.

Instead of a typical nine to five job, women are pursuing entrepreneurship because it gives them freedom and flexibility to do what they are passionate about while taking care of their families.

However, achieving the right balance between work and family demands can be challenging. Refilwe Xaba is a mompreneur, the founder of Glolooks, a wife and a mother to two boys both under the age of three years old.

Xaba’s business specialises in manufacture haircare products made from African indigenous oils and plant extracts. Her passion for running a business was ignited by her father who had an entrepreneurial spirit. 

In 2019, the founder of Glolooks had a high-risk pregnancy which resulted in her being placed on bedrest for two months. When her first child was born in 2020, SA faced its first lockdown. During this time, she had to stay in the newborn intensive care unit for a month. “I had to deal with all this while ensuring my business stayed afloat and my employees’ jobs were maintained,” she recalled.

In 2021, Xaba gave birth to her second son and that pregnancy was also declared as high-risk. At this point, she was pregnant, raising her newborn child and running her business. This was a challenging time for her and the business.

In hindsight, Xaba believes the challenges she faced helped her to grow and become more resilient in her entrepreneurial journey. “I don’t believe in a complete work-life balance, but I believe in striving for a conducive environment where both work and family can co-exist effectively,” she said.

Her resilience paid off, because today her business is thriving; it has doubled its turnover and her haircare products are available nationwide. She also successfully launched a kiddies haircare range, with more products to come.

The Junior Chamber International of South Africa (JCI SA) recently recognised Xaba as one of the top 10 young persons in SA under the business category.

Having an entrepreneurial background is helpful when running a business. Her first business was in high school when she had to raise money to travel to Australia to compete in a netball tournament. The travelling costs were high and she needed to raise money quickly.

She decided to sell affordable snacks to learners and compete with expensive snacks sold at the school tuck-shop. “This business was a success and I was able to raise close to R10,000 over a period of six months,” she said.

For Xaba, this was the start of her entrepreneurial journey and she has not looked back since. Today, her entrepreneurship venture is backed by a master of commerce qualification she obtained in 2019. “When I started Glolooks in 2018, I wanted to create high quality products that are free-from harsh chemicals and safe for the planet," she said.

“I believe that mommies can have it all. All my employees are women with a great majority of them being mothers,” concluded Xaba. She believes that if you equip and empower a woman, you are equipping and empowering a nation.

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