By: Pamela Mkhize
Nothing warms my heart like seeing young people flourish in their respective fields. I am inspired by young people who work hard, strive to be the best and are making a difference wherever they are. To kick start the New Year I had an exciting opportunity to catch up with 5 amazing human beings, who I will be introducing to you in the next few days. They are young, inspiring and are definitely doing great things. Without a doubt, they are on my list on young people to watch in the year 2016. First up, we have Thembeka Mgobhozi.
The Game Changer- Thembeka Mgobhozi
Thembeka is 28-year- old Durbanite, born in Umlazi. She is the owner of Sphalaphala Hair and beauty salon, an up market hair salon located in a shopping mall is Umlazi. Mgobhozi, the bubbly, ambitious dreamer with a zest for life, people and experiences is also a marketing consultant. She describes herself as a simple girl with a mission to change a big world. This Brand Manager turned entrepreneur has worked for various companies and has had the honor of working on big brands such as Woolworth’s, Bell’s Whisky and Baby Soft and Corenza.
She says, her job as a Brand Manager is a big part of who she is because it helps me make an impact in people’s lives and make a difference through the brands I work on and with. It has also equipped me with the right skills and expertise that will enable me to become a successful entrepreneur.
Has business/ industry always been your passion?
I’ve always wanted to be in business. Even as a little girl I knew that I wouldn’t be working for someone for the rest of my life, so it’s something I’ve always worked towards achieving. I finally took the big step leap in 2014 when I opened Sphalaphala. So, yes! I’ve always had interest in the industry but I’ve always been frustrated by various things that you encounter when you go to salons. It bugged me so much that I wanted to build something that would be different from the rest and really change the status quo.
When did Sphalaphala launch?
We officially opened our doors to the public in November, 2014. It’s been a tough and challenging journey but it’s been worth it. I have big plans for my little Sphalaphala so it’s still has a long way to go but we are in no rush. Just in our lane taking it one step at a time.
What inspires you?
Everything inspires me! I’m inspired by the past and the future, the history of this country and those that fought for our liberation really keep me motivated. If they could make such a huge impact why can’t I? Those that have already achieved what I dream of also inspire me. I am really motivated by game changers, businesswomen and men who have done amazing things. What keeps me going is my family and friends. Their support gives me the strength to continue going even when it seems I’ve reached the end. Lastly my staff and our clients keep me going. They remind me that I’m making a difference, it may be small but it’s a start and that alone makes me want to reach even higher heights.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Dreamer. Silly. Friendly
Greatest achievements for the year 2015
Sphalaphala turning a year old! It signified growth for me and that was huge for us. It emphasized that we are here to stay and cemented that it is possible. Some of the smaller wins we experienced last year included working with Mizani at the Durban Fashion Fair in 2015 and with Vuma FM for their annual wedding competition. These were small wins in the industry but huge for us because it meant that we were getting noticed by big brands and awareness about the salon was increasing.
Do you have bigger plans for 2016?
Big is an understatement. We have huge plans and God willing, I will be able to make them happen.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Personally I see myself as having grown as a businesswoman and having interests in a few sectors/industries. For the business I see is having grown beyond one salon and having made an impact in the hair industry beyond just offering hair and nail services. It’s a big vision but with focus and a strong will to win we can make it happen.
Words of wisdom to other young people?
Stay true to who you are and what your brand is trying to achieve. Remember why you started when it gets tough (because it will) and always stay in your own lane. Be authentic and stay true to your vision that way you will excel in whatever you do. Don’t be scared of failure, sometimes things don’t go the way you’ve planned them but there are always lessons to grow you and your business. Take the lessons and run!