If the hair and beauty industry is not stereotyped by magazines and television commercials, it is the ‘misconception’ of the society at large. One could argue that the industry is all doom and gloom and if you don’t have a size 16 waist, don’t even consider a career in the ‘cosmetics’ industry. Well, there is hope. We asked Tshidi Molefe, founder and managing director of Enzi Hair & Beauty Institute what she thought about some of the challenges she faces as a business owner in a space where she has to encourage young people to actually choose hair and beauty as a career.
Thought leadership article by Tshidi Molefe, founder and managing director of Enzi Hair & Beauty Institute.
1. Do you think we have enough opportunities for youth to tackle unemployment?
Yes we do, opportunities are plenty out there. One of the challenges youth face is that they are impatient with their success, they want over-night success. This could be because of a number of factors, one that I can note is the pressure social media is placing on them. The youth should stop looking for shortcuts to success, although we would all love to be instant millionaires, but reality doesn’t work like that. It’s important for youth to understand that education is a basic foundation for everything – no matter what industry you are going into. The hair and beauty industry has so much to offer, there should not be anything stopping them from learning and improving or even acquiring new skills for that matter.
2. What are some of the industry challenges that the Hair & Beauty industry face?
The main challenge is that the ethnic space is highly informal with lower levels of professionalism. It’s under regulated especially in townships and rural areas. The barriers to entry are non-existent, anyone with a bucket of relaxer, comb & hair dryer, a hair clipper machine can open a salon business – which at times makes this industry less inspirational especially for those living in the rural areas. There’s a perception in the ethnic space that anyone who can plait hair, is a hairdresser… that is delicately not correct, the hair business requires way more than that.
Another challenge is that those so-called hairdressers use harsh chemical products which are not regulated; access to these products is not regulated and controlled. These harsh and dangerous chemicals have contributed to problems such as balding and receding hairline and more.
Safety and hygiene is another area which pose a huge challenge. Sterilization of equipment and general cleanliness of work spaces are not adder to.
3. Are there any growth opportunities in such a cannibalistic industry?
There are loads of great opportunities in this industry but one needs to be fully equipped with the education background – talent only is not always an advantage. Having that diploma or formal hair and beauty qualification is like being given a key to open many doors.
As a qualified and skilled artisan you don’t only get to be a hairdresser or beauty therapist, you can start and run your own business, which has been a discussion by the government, encouraging youth to be employers and not the other way around.
With experience in the filed one can become a training facilitator, an assessor, a moderator, a coach and mentor, an image consultant, a product sales representative for leading distributor/manufacturing company, a product manufacture or more. There are also opportunities for working overseas or in cruise ships, there is just so much.
In essence, If you are looking to tap into the hair and beauty industry, do it the right way and you will reap the benefits of this beautiful industry. Whether you are looking to have your own mobile services, small professional businesses or work with or for established business to learn more about the trade – coupled with entrepreneurship, education, mentorship and high levels of commitment, the youth can fight unemployment and create viable and sustainable ventures.
To find out more about Enzi & Hair Institute, visit https://www.enziinstitute.com/