……vows to take Hair City to great heights
HAIR City has become a household name in the hair and beauty industry owing to the company’s record of supplying hair, health and beauty equipment amongst a host of other items to salons and spa’s amongst others. Confidente (C) recently caught up with Taryn Uys (TU) the Manager of Hair City in Oshakati, who talked about the company’s roots, its future and goals as well as her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs in the beauty industry. C: Briefly tell us about yourself. TU: Well, I’m quite a transparent type of person. What you see is what you get. I’m a friendly, ambitious, fun-loving, extroverted, young professional who dreams big. Born, bred and a proud product of Windhoek, I love to experience the world and all its varieties. I am passionate about uplifting women and being a voice against injustice against women and LGBTIQ groups. I’m extremely curious, so I’m always studying or making sure I am up to date with current events from around the world. I keep my mind in check with regular yoga exercises and my heart in check by being obsessed with music. I speak to my Lord throughout the day, making sure that I keep my spiritual growth a priority. I moved to South Africa straight after high school and lived in Cape Town for about 10 years and finally returning to Windhoek in 2015. I gained extensive business management and sales experience within the hospitality industry, before turning my attention to this family-based business last year; satisfying the wholesale and retail needs of the hair, health and beauty industry. I moved to Oshakati to open and run our Etango Shopping Centre branch in April, and I’ll never look back.
C: Tell us about the establishment of Hair City and the services it offers?
TU: Ace Wholesalers is my father’s mother company, from where Hair City [the retail interface] was birthed. He’s been operating the business for 30 odd years, so the business is like a family member I’ve grown with through the years. We supply the hair, health and beauty industry with equipment, utilities and products needed to start-up, grow and supply hair salons, spa’s, nail technicians, massage therapists, beauticians, make-up artists and retail stores alike. We are very committed to great and personal customer service – often knowing customers by name and greeting new faces with warm welcomes. Since we’re a small establishment [for now in any case], we are quite flexible in providing specialised packages for unique customer needs that are tailor made for exactly what is wanted, after thorough consultations. We have become quite a trusted name in the industry, with many people relying on us to support their business ventures and endeavours. You can find anything from whole shampoo basin wash units, to hood dryers, from make-up to hot stone treatments, human hair pieces to synthetic weaves. We also supply nail gels, UV machines, relaxers to perm lotions, cholesterol and keratin treatments. Hair City further offers rollers, perm rods, blow dry brushes to combs, shampoos and conditioners plus professional cutting scissors and shaving machines. We truly are an all-round, one stop shop for all your hair and beauty needs.
C: What are challenges and opportunities facing the company?
TU: As we all know, Namibian women take their hair and beauty wants very seriously. They often demand products and services of ever evolving beauty trends. Hence, staying ahead of the trends proves challenging as one needs to source a relevant supplier that allows one to offer the latest trends at an affordable rate. With many of our clients being retailers, the onus is to source a quality product at a reasonable wholesale price to enable our clients to also profit on the resale of our imports. We do not always hit the nail on the head, so it is a trial and error process of introducing trends into the market. Hair City sees many opportunities on its horizon. Growth is our largest opportunity and our eventual route. It will allow us to bring the sort of services and products found in Windhoek to the rest of Namibia. So, the new branch in Oshakati is not the only planned new edition to the family, so watch this space.
C: With a flooded market, what makes Hair City unique?
TU: Hair City has always been committed to the needs of our wholesale and retail clients. We understand the business models and thus offer what is needed; quality products at reasonable [resalable] prices. And because of the years and years of supplier and customer sturdy relationships, we can afford to do just that. We communicate very well with our clients to create an understanding and flexible relationship with the customers’ service experience being our key priority. We search for and do research on potential suppliers and keep a keen eye on international beauty and hair trends. The variety of products and services offered keeps us relevant in the game! Like I said before, we are not bound to the red tape of large conglomerate but offer tailor made packages to clients and this level of service is what puts up one cut above the rest.
C: As manager, what key areas of the business are you concentrating on?
TU: Well, being a young professional, I differ greatly from my father in my belief of digitalising the company business avenues. I am concentrating on shaping our operational model to a stricter digital version to safeguard against things like supply issues and general operational difficulties due to a lack of cloud computing and transparency. Since growth is our aim, this is a key factor that will allow the company to expand without the need for micro management. This digitalising will also affect our marketing strategies, which up to now has been largely non-existent on the platforms that are most frequented by our clients. This means setting up and manning social media accounts and websites and providing an online catalogue for the convenience of our clients who are unaware of the variety of products we stock or new arrivals we have received. Lastly, another one of my priorities is growing our reach; hopefully setting up and solidifying future branches across the country. We have heard client calls from all corners of Namibia, and are working hard on bringing a Hair City branch to a town near you.
C: Where do you see the company in the next 5 to 10 years?
TU: I see the company expanding to all corners of Namibia to satisfy the demand closer to the client base in need; to provide a tangible service centre to the northern, southern, eastern and westerns regions of the country. With this, I envision the resultant workforce that will grow the Hair City family and endeavour to offer regular training to upskill Namibian women. I see more and more start-up hair, health and beauty SME’s as a direct result of Hair City’s expanding services, and thus, our little ripple effect on the economic situation experienced by aspiring Namibian youth. Lastly, I see Hair City setting trends, and not just following them. Personally, I would love to see a more positive hair and beauty self-image in Namibian women and would like us to find a healthier perception of what beauty is. Redefining beauty to include all varieties, shapes, textures and sizes is key to self-care, love and n a t u r a l beauty celebration.
C: What advice do you have for women and youth keen on starting up a similar business?
TU: It takes time; research, determination and people’s skills. I’ve been working in the company since I was 12 years old and merely watching the company take shape and grow and reshape has given me a keen understanding of the business model and clientele. Be patient, for you will have to watch carefully, read and learn about everything going on in the industry. Talk to everyone about it; ask questions and do your research. Know your industry well, and know where you’re unique fit is within this picture. Then, never give up! Try this, and try that. Be different, or find what works and find a cheaper supplier. Never stop trying! And once you have sat down at the table of contenders, keep your clients happy! They are the only reason you will succeed, and the future of your business success is in their deciding hands. Always remember, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” JFK
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