Mabel Ledwaba’s passion for beauty started when she was a teenager which led her to open a beauty salon in her bedroom.
She ran her salon after school and she also desired to learn as much as she can about the beauty industry from her surroundings.
Just like everything in life, Mabel faced some challenges when she was running her bedroom salon.
“I was younger back then and still at school and one of the challenges that I faced was lack of resources to be able to carry out the work that I needed to do at the time. I would say lack of vast knowledge about beauty products and still being in school were other challenges that I faced,” Mabel said.
As a person who started running her business from home, Mabel shared valuable advice for those who are at this stage and running beauty salons at home.
“It is important for them to trust the process and work within their limits and gradually grow from there. Most importantly, they must never miss an opportunity to learn more about the industry as knowledge certainly will help them navigate and help run their home salons that may even grow out of their homes one day,” she advised.
When she decided to become a businesswoman
Mabel decided become a businesswoman and launch her own beauty brand, Havillah Beauty, after seeing a gap in the industry as far as beauty products are concerned.
“Havillah Beauty’s core target market is black women across South Africa. Our range offers a wide variety of makeup and skin products for both men and women that also cater for skin problems such as acne and pigmentation also known as ‘chubabas’ in South African lingo. In our makeup range we have high definition concealers and foundation with great features including 24-hour coverage, SPF 30 and waterproof. In 2018 we started manufacturing artificial dreadlocks weaved from synthetic hair pieces – they are beautifully handwoven and look like real hair,” she said.
Mabel believes that providing products that solve people’s skincare problems and provide real solutions is what makes the Havillah Beauty range different from the rest.
She also said that the beauty industry is very competitive and after being in the industry for 11 years now, she says the one challenge they continuously face is lack of knowledge within the black community.
“There are still some misconceptions around beauty products being confused as skin bleaching products. As such we have had to be on the ground all the time to train and educate our clients,” Mabel revealed.
Being smart & innovative during a pandemic
Mabel revealed that they avoided being hit hard by the pandemic by being innovative.
“The pandemic did not affect us at all, in fact we saw a gap and took advantage of it .When the first lockdown hit we knew that people are stuck at home and glued to their phones. Ladies needed to shop so we started a campaign called “quarantine glow”. We sold skincare on high discounts and promised delivery when restrictions were lifted. So thank God we fell under essential commodities, so we were able to trade. Then we accelerated our strategy because we knew ladies can’t spend their monies in the shopping malls so we capitalised with online sales,” said Mabel.
She also shared some pearls of wisdom for those who aspire to grow their beauty business.
Live and breathe your brand.
“They need to be patient and be consistent in marketing their brand. Live and breathe your brand because you can have a good product but if you can’t sell it, it can still die in its infancy stage in the business growth cycle.”
Her products are not found in retail stores but through agents. Predominantly women independently sell Havillah Beauty products. They have over 3 000 Independent Business Owners across South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Zambia.