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Sibusiswe Ngeleka: Swapping corporate life for scrubbing people’s feet, and realising success

Small business owner makes a success of her nail business.

December 11, 2015 10:11 am

Red_nail_polish_in_applicationDainfern Square Mall is a new mall that opened its doors on the 28th of May 2015, in an affluent North-Joburg suburb. A visit to the mall will show you that it isn’t just your ordinary mall, but rather one that oozes many luxury stores and with that a divine nail bar owned by 36 year old business woman Sibusiswe Ngeleka.

Sibusisuswe, better known as Sibs, was a full time consultant when back in 2011 she started doing her nails on regular basis, which eventually grew into a passion and successful business. This is her story…

A business born out of a gap in the market

At the time I was working for a large IT Company and my time was not mine, I could not schedule a nail appointment two days in advance, being a new single mom made things even worse, my weekends were dedicated to my son, as I was already feeling guilty for not being around during the week.

Initially, I found a lovely nail bar in Morningside, I loved the staff and I was so impressed with the atmosphere and professionalism, but I still battled to get an appointment as and when I needed. I then found another nail bar in Sandton which catered for my needs, no need to book, just pop in. One little snag though, I was working in Bryanston, and the commute with my busy work schedule was almost impossible.

I then realised that there was a need for something similar in the Fourways area, and The Loft Nail Bar was born.

The Loft Nail Bar was Inspired by my love for New York, I wanted to create a place where mothers can drop their kids off at school and just take time off from their busy schedules, even if it was just for an hour, a place where women could feel pampered as if they were at a spa but without actually spending a whole day at a spa.

The challenges

My biggest hurdle was how to penetrate a market that is dominated by the franchises, who are big brands. My challenge was to build client trust as a new entity? In addition it is difficult for an unknown brand to get into shopping malls, as most malls aren’t willing to take on someone they don’t know or a brand they aren’t familiar with. I am grateful I preserved and managed to open the Loft Nail bar on the 28th of May.

Our value proposition is an uncompromising quality service with a primary focus on the business of nails. Every day we strive to be better than the day before. We don’t do skin, we do nails. We do offer other value added service such as threading and eyelash extensions but that’s as far as we go. We know what are core business is and focus on this to deliver quality.

We also understand the pressures of being a professional woman, with added responsibilities of our families, not everyone is able to book an appointment two days in advance or always be on time for their appointment. As a result we always have at least one nail technician who can take walk-in clients, yes a client may have to wait 15-30 minutes for availability but we never tell clients to come back in two days.

Passion for empowering women

The Decor at The Loft Nail Bar speaks to my personality, my love for beautiful things but also my passion for empowering women. Besides the imported pedicure stations all the furniture at the shop was manufactured by Trenery Furniture, a young black female owned furniture company. For me, it’s all about lifting each other up as we grow.

We have our luxury signature pedicure called the Pinot Noir Pedi where we soak your feet using a bottle of Champagne; we use only quality products and do not compromise on this.

I always joke with my friends that I traded my expensive suits and a well-paying corporate job with a multinational company that a million people would kill to work for, to scrub people’s feet and I couldn’t be happier. We are currently negotiating a lease agreement for our second store in Pretoria and we plan to have three branches by 2018.

During my spare time I blog on www.sibusisiwengeleka.com. My dream is to write a basic guide on starting a small business in South Africa.

Staff writer

Sibusiswe Ngeleka: Swapping corporate life for scrubbing people’s feet, and realising success Reviewed by on . Dainfern Square Mall is a new mall that opened its doors on the 28th of May 2015, in an affluent North-Joburg suburb. A visit to the mall will show you that it Dainfern Square Mall is a new mall that opened its doors on the 28th of May 2015, in an affluent North-Joburg suburb. A visit to the mall will show you that it Rating: 0
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