Launching Hairtural™, a product range for natural hair, was what prompted entrepreneur Botlhale Tshetlo to establish a salon. Hairtural™ Studio in Bryanston, Johannesburg, is barely four months old, yet it’s already gained traction, with customers driving from Pretoria for a full “hairtural” experience for both themselves and their daughters.
Many salons insist on combing and blow-drying hair, and Tshetlo says she found that women were struggling to find ones that treated hair differently. She realised it didn’t make sense to separate the product from the service, which is why she decided to open Hairtural™ Studio.
What sets this salon apart is its strict “no heat, no comb” policy, which makes taking care of your hair a painless experience.
“It’s been surprisingly popular,” Tshetlo says. “Women are coming in from all over, particularly the little ones. Many moms are struggling with their daughters’ hair being dried and not wanting to have it combed. We strive for the girls to be empowered by their hair and love their hair.”
Tshetlo says that natural hair should be treated differently to processed hair. “We’re all about healthy hair, so we don’t do any colouring and we don’t comb,” she explains. “When the hair knots, it causes hair breakage, so we use our fingers to detangle gently. In addition, heat thins out the hair and causes the ends to start breaking off. We took a stance against braiding too because it thins the hairline. So ultimately, we do more good than damage to the hair.”
Climate also plays a major role in the condition of South African women’s hair, causing dryness as a result of lack of moisture, unlike countries such as Ghana which has a more humid climate. With this in mind, Tshetlo says that Hairtural™ Studio is committed to taking extra care.
The ingredients for the haircare range are also carefully selected based on the climate. “American solutions don’t work for us, which is why I’ve gone for indigenous ingredients. I started in the kitchen,” she says.
Tshetlo says that as the business has grown, she’s learnt to delegate duties to people who are experts in their respectful fields. She’s usually a DIY girl, but with the new branding, she’s had to let go of certain aspects and allow trained individuals to do their work.
Because of the overall experience clients receive, expansion is on the cards for the brand. Tshetlo says there are many lessons to learn as an entrepreneur in the black hair market in South Africa. “I’d never run a salon before; it’s a sharp learning curve,” she says. “I’ve learnt to ‘gut feel’, go with it. That’s what will separate your business from others. You need to start, and once you jump in, you learn what needs to be done.”
“Every once in a while, I go back to my bungee jumping experience. Once you take a leap into the air, nothing can stop it.” Which means there’s more to come – look out for Afrology, Tshetlo’s new baby. She says that because the salon doesn’t solve the distribution issue – as people are requesting the product from as far as Cape Town and Durban, among other places – a retail outlet is the answer and will be easy to set up. Afrology will stock an array of local natural hair brands and opens its doors in Midrand, Joburg, in April 2017.
To make appointments, call 0712986799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1st Floor Petervale Centre, Corner Cambridge Road & Frans Hals Street, Petervale, Bryanston