At ZimShoppingMalls we are, like many progressive folks, constantly reviewing and challenging the traditional education system and the journey to becoming a successful business person. It’s our desire that every month we will feature a young entrepreneur and hopefully through this series learn what makes young entrepreneurs tick and help other young entrepreneurs to take the leap and learn from others to avoid the common mistakes and adapt the right approaches. A young entrepreneur by our standards is anyone 19 years old or younger.
Our team met up with an amazing young lady that is sure to be an inspiration to many other young ladies that may be thinking of starting a business and perhaps too scared to begin or just not sure how to start… If you are that person then read this insightful interview.
Q. Could you tell us your name a little bit about yourself?
My name is Makaita Nzenze. I’m 18 years old and currently completing my upper 6th form at a local high school in Harare. I’m studying Business Studies, Maths and Geography. I’m a young entrepreneur that supplies women with weaves. I hope to, someday, grow my business to a major weave supplier in Zimbabwe.
Q. When did you become interested in entrepreneurship? And why the hair industry?
My interests in entrepreneurship began at the tender age of 15. Prior to that, I had assumed that one has to attend University then work before becoming an entrepreneur but after I watched a teaching that said: “You start by starting despite your age”. I remember it also said being a business woman is not about turning over millions but even if you make a $1 profit then you have marketed your product well so I dove right into it. I started by starting…
I entered into this industry because I have an immense passion for hair, beauty and cosmetics. Something in me just lights up when I have played even the smallest role in helping another individual look better and feel better about themselves. As people, we tend to do better when we feel good about ourselves especially in the way we present to others.
Q. What is the name of your company?
It’s called Local Glo.
Q. What is the biggest challenge you are facing as a young entrepreneur juggling school and work?
I would say the biggest challenge I face is time. I spend most of the time at school as that is my priority at the moment and then I end up not having as much time as I would like to fulfill some of my business obligations such as attending entrepreneurial seminars or expos and administrative work that could help me to grow my business. For example, I sometimes don’t have enough time to collect the orders so I end up asking for an extra helping hand but generally, I don’t struggle with juggling the 2.
Having said that, I’ve come across so many ups and downs especially because the hair Industry is crowded and there is so much competition, but I’ve kept my head high and continuously strived to achieve success.
Q. Have you had any training in this industry? Certifications?
I get most of my information and knowledge from the internet. With technology at our fingertips, it’s made it fairly easier for me to acquire the knowledge needed in this industry without formal education or certifications. I think I can hold my own against those with formal education and even certifications in the industry as I’m committed to continuously improve my knowledge and expertise through online research.
Q. What kind of help do you get from your parents? And did they provide you the startup capital?
Well, most people will probably think that my parents gave me startup capital but the truth is that I started my business with zero dollars and I have managed to steadily grow it, not as fast as I would like but it’s growing nonetheless. At the moment, I sell hair per order so after one pays a deposit, the deposit is what I use to supplement purchasing the hair then they can pay the balance upon receiving the hair. I am blessed because my parents have been very supportive of the idea of their high school daughter getting into business and they help me, for example, with the process of tracking the products as they are shipped and then collecting them when they arrive in Zimbabwe.
Q. Do your clients always honor payment of the balance or some take advantage of your age?
I haven’t experienced people taking advantage of me because of my age. I don’t let my age define my seriousness as a business person. Everyone that orders definitely pays for their hair. I think perhaps the way I present myself makes people just take me seriously and I am thankful for amazing clients so far that appreciate my good client service.
Q. What are your ambitions after high school?
I want to become a successful business woman. I plan on doing this by studying finance and accounting in University. After studying I plan on then getting a job, using that money to invest into my hair business and hopefully other areas too.
Q. What advice do you have for other teenage girls that may be looking to start a business while in school?
My advice is start by starting. Many people at this age have ideas but always say “I’ll start after school”
How about you start now? Gain exposure and experience and by the time you’re 25 you’re very well experienced. Also, don’t let the economic situation stop you, right now there are people buying cars in this harsh economy showing that their businesses are still flourishing, so why not you? School is there to help you be educated and gain knowledge but the best teacher is the experience. Don’t let your young age limit your ambition. Start on your journey of being a millionaire now. Even just a $1 profit, it’s still something. What have you got to lose?
I hope to inspire young Zimbabwean girls and to ensure them that age should not limit them as there are many opportunities to be exploited.
Q. If you could get assistance right now what would you ask for?
I would maybe just need money to buy wholesale. Like to buy in bulk then sell rather than selling it per order as I am currently doing. I might also need assistance in Digital Marketing because everyone is online these days and if your business is not online then you are not visible to your market.
Q. What’s your complete products range at the moment for those of us that don’t really know much about this industry?
Right now I sell weave bundles. I’m also launching wigs this coming summer and I’m partnering with my sister who will be selling hair products for natural hair and other different hair textures. She will also be supplying the hair sprays and hair mouse and lotions. Everything to do with hair really… But that’s when I expand which is around 2-3 months from now. This will increase my brand recognition as I will have specials like for example when you buy my local glo hair bundles, you will receive the hair mouse at a discounted price. I will also then be making people’s wigs at a discounted price if they buy from me
Q. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like making wigs, and I do people’s hair, for example, my sister’s and friends. I’m more of a clubs person than sports. I do current affairs, interact, choir and AVA (African choir).
Are you in High school and already running your small business? We want to hear from you. Send us a brief writeup on who you are and the business you are running. One of our agents will get in touch with you soon to arrange for an interview.
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