By Mzukona Mantshontsho
RED LILY BEAUTY HOUSE is an affordable beauty solutions company. The State of Small Business spoke to Founding Director at the Red Lily Beauty House about her personal, professional and entrepreneurial journey
Tell us about your early life: academic, professional and your role TODAY
My early life was spent playing indigenous games in the dusty streets of the Madadeni Township in Newcastle, KwaZulu – Natal. I am told that I have always been a happy child; so much so that my grandmother later gave me the name Njabulo which is the IsiZulu word for joy.
Creativity has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember. From the love letters that I used to write to my mother as a little girl; to poems, scrapbooks, excellent marks for English essays and speeches and the vibrant music that came from the choral experiences which coloured my school career.
Before the decision to pursue Entrepreneurship on a full-time basis, I spent a significant part of my professional life working as an Office Support Professional in Gauteng’s corporate environment. It is during this time that I gained valuable experience in the Recruitment and Events Management Industries. It was from an early age that the business bug bit me though; hence my decision to acquire an educational qualification in Business Management as preparation for my inevitable journey as an Entrepreneur.
Fast forward to today; where I am now the Founder and Director of Red Lily Beauty House, an affordable beauty solutions company, and I am also working on building several projects in various sectors as well.
What does your role mean to you and what do you DAILY?
My role means that I am an Influencer. My role means that I am a change-agent and I am trend-setter. My role means that I have the opportunity to create a new reality for myself, my family and the young women in my community. My role means that I have been tasked with the responsibility of being a difference-maker and building foundations which will shape the future of the generations which will succeed me.
As the Founder and Director of Red Lily Beauty House, my average day is filled with a variety of activities which stimulate me and stretch my mind in several ways. Sales and Administration form a large part of everyday; whereas Marketing and Strategising for our company’s growth are also crucial areas of focus. Financial Management and directing our income to the right avenues is a daily activity at which I am getting better with every day that passes. Mentoring and developing my Assistant is also a very important part of my responsibilities, as her growth and empowerment is vital for the fulfilment of my holistic vision.
What are you currently working on and what can we expect from you going forward?
We are currently working on streamlining our processes and instilling a fail-proof working culture within our company. We would like to build a foundation that is so secure that as the company continues to grow; our processes and procedures will be so smooth that we do not buckle from the pressure that will inevitably come with the increased workload and widening interest in our brand.
The future is very exciting; we will be having the official launch of the company before the end of the year, which is set to be a life-changing experience for everyone who will be attending the event.
We are also very close to finalising the official branding of the company, which we believe will resonate deeply with our target market.
Also, in the pipeline is a secure online store, mobile sales drives and pop-up stalls at relevant hotspots. All in all; the future looks very exciting!
What initiative (if implemented) would leave the greatest impact for you at Red Lily Beauty House?
We as Red Lily Beauty House would like to implement an Empowerment Programme for Grade 8 girls at several high schools in our region. The Red Lily Beauty House brand is not just about external beauty; we would like to cultivate the beauty from within as well.
It is true that happy girls are the prettiest; therefore, we would like to groom our young girls into being confident and secure women who will be aware of their strength, and in turn use this strength to empower their families and their communities as well.
We would like to use this Empowerment Programme to encourage unity amongst the young girls who will be participating, and to subsequently build an attitude of Sisterhood from an early age.
What would you change if you had all the powers in the world?
I would change the mindsets of all human beings to be those of victory, wisdom, courage and strength. Everything starts with the mind. If a person’s mind is empowered; they will then be able to stand up and change their situation for the better.
What would you say are the most critical resources for your successful leadership? How would people describe you as a Leader?
There is one resource that stands out for me more than all the others: Encouragement.
Being a leader has taught me the importance of individually acknowledging the efforts of all the members of my teams and showing sincere appreciation for their work. Where there needs to be improvement; I make suggestions from a place of love for the organisation and love for the person that I lead. Sir Richard Branson once likened people to flowers, stating that when flowers are watered, they flourish and so it is with human beings too; when people are appreciated, they excel at executing their tasks. I believe that my team members would describe me as firm yet kind and as diligent yet encouraging at the same time.
What is the legacy that you would want to leave by the time you retire?
I would like to raise a generation of young people who are fearless. Mine will be a legacy of diligence, strategic thought and behaviour, hard work and excellence and not forgetting fun and an insatiable sense of adventure. I would like to raise a generation of Warriors.
How will Red Lily Beauty House contribute to the community?
Red Lily Beauty House is already an employer to a dynamic young lady who plays the role of being my Assistant. She is learning new ways of thinking and living daily and is being challenged to function at her ultimate in all aspects of her life. Her professional knowledge is on the rise and the information and resources that are now at her disposal far outweighs her previous reality. This is one of the ways that Red Lily Beauty House is contributing to the community; by helping everyone that we work with to realise their potential and by assisting our customers and clients to fully understand and appreciate their inner and outer beauty, and to also fully grasp their true worth.
What have been the highs and lows in your working career?
The highs of my working career have been all the valuable lessons that I have learnt. I have worked for several companies which had diverse ways of doing things.
I have also been led by a number of leaders who have had different styles of leadership and have also had different approaches to life and business.
The lessons learnt during my time as an employee are some of my most valuable “possessions” and I even find myself using them as reference points when faced with making certain decisions now that I am running my own companies.
The lows have been all the times when I felt dissatisfied with my life as an employee. Deep down inside of me the urge to be at the forefront of things has never given me true peace during my days of employment. The jobs would be good; the money would be enough, the treatment would be bearable, but the joy would be missing from it all.
I always felt displaced in the working world, and now that I am living the life of an Entrepreneur, I understand why life as an employee never worked out for me: I was destined for more.
When you not at work, what do you get up to, including family life?
When I am not working, I am reading, or I am watching informative videos. I love learning. Learning is a very big part of my life.
My favourite materials to watch are videos of my Mentor’s (Pastor Sthembiso Mtshali of Upper Room Ministries) teachings and talk show interviews of influential people.
I also love having meaningful conversations with my Mother, laughing with my siblings and playing mind games with my 4-year-old niece.
I have recently come to have a true understanding of the power of love and I am learning to have a deeper appreciation for the people that I am walking this life journey with.
What are your words of advice, inspiration, and encouragement for young people to start small businesses?
The one thing that I would say to a young person who aspires to own their own business is this:
Start! Get started with the little that you have, doing the best that you can from wherever you are. The rest you will learn as you go along.
I would also like to highlight the importance of having a good relationship with money. Learn as much as you can about money and how to best handle it from as early an age as possible.
Oh, and whatever you do; don’t forget to have fun. Entrepreneurship is the best adventure there ever was. Enjoy it!
Mzukona Mantshontsho is the founder of Nyakaza Media Solutions. Nyakaza Media Solutions is an organisation that was established to help community organisations, business entities, and schools to research, write, document, report, analyse, edit, publish newsletters or bulletins in hard-copy, on-line and maintain websites with the relevant content as per the editorial policy of that organisation, school or entity.
Nyakaza Media Solutions has a vision to promote and bring dialogue to communities, businesses and schools about issues that affect them.
Nyakaza Media Solutions is on a mission to develop and encourage communities, businesses and learners to celebrate the good, applaud excellence, welcome growth, strive to be better individuals, businesses and communities, want more knowledge, discourage bad and counter-productive behaviour as well as communities, businesses and learners that want to be great SOUTH AFRICANS.
Nyakaza Media Solutions is making use of Yo School Magazine as a platform that learners in all schools to make use of to write their stories.