Kelebogile Mashigo – entrepreneur/ brand strategist
I met Lebo about 15 years ago when she was starting at Unilever. We met again at SAB when she came to work on Hansa as a TTL Marketing Manager when I was GM Hansa. A hardworking determined lady, Lebo, as I call her, has worked at Kelloggs, Liberty, SAB, and in 2015/16 she went to France to study her MBA in International Luxury Brand Management. Lebo now is now co-owner of Kurls and Kutz – a hair salon in Rosebank specialising in kids hair
Lebo, tell us about yourself.
I am a lover of life, who believes that anything is possible if you put your heart and effort into it. I come from a family of hardworking and passionate people, and I have carried those traits into my life as well. A couple of years ago I would have described myself by my career but now my life has changed so much over the last couple of years, that I don’t feel I fit any form or definition anymore. But I am a passionate, determined, young woman in business.
What made you and your partners open a hair salon?
The hair salon was born out of need and passion amongst the three of us. My partners both have young children and they were constantly frustrated about the lack of excellent service and care for children’s hair. I always had a deep interest in haircare since my first job at Unilever, working for the Sunsilk brand, and that interest steadily developed into a passion for ingredients, products and general care for black hair. Out of this wonderful mix our new hair franchise was born. We have also recently created a haircare range for all hair types as well, which is available exclusively at our salon for now. Our aim is to really create a wonderfully nurturing environment for all children and their parents, and to change our world one head at a time.
What have been some of your successes and challenges?
I truly feel blessed to have had such an amazing career in corporate, working for some of the biggest brands and having so much fun in what I did. I learnt so much about myself and working with others throughout my career, and that has set me up for this entrepreneurial journey that I am on. Throughout my career I have so many highlights that would be too long to list, but the key takeout for me was all the lessons I learnt from my leaders, like how to create a wonderful team and lead from the front. Most of my successes also came from being bold and believing in my intuition and sense about something. That’s something that I have really learnt to trust and value so much in my life.
As with everyone, I have had challenges, but the lesson for me was to never give up and to always get the right perspective. Surrounding myself with people I could talk to about my challenges really helped me become self-aware and acknowledging my contribution in every situation, which helps me overcome whatever I may be going through. The biggest challenge I experienced was understanding when it was time for me to leave a certain place, and I was too fearful of the unknown to acknowledge it. I knew I wasn’t getting what I wanted from that place anymore and yet I was too afraid to take the leap. Then all sorts of issues and challenges start coming up around me, and I realised it wasn’t everyone else who was the problem – I was the one denying what my heart desired because of fear. Finally, when I broke through all the fear and honoured myself, I created the most amazing experience and highlight of my life to date, which was moving to Paris to pursue my studies in international luxury brands. Now I am venturing into the entrepreneurship world and creating even more wonderful and rewarding experiences for myself.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
I am new to entrepreneurship, and I’m in the middle of the biggest challenge, which is the start-up phase of businesses. The biggest lesson I have learned so far is to ensure that you surround yourself with people who can build and support you on this journey. It’s a tough and lonely road often filled with doubt and a million questions, and having a tribe of people that are on the same journey with you helps give the perspective you so often need.
Something else I have learnt is that it is so important to get into a business you love, and not something to make a quick buck. The passion for something you enjoy keeps you focused and carries you through the times when you feel like quitting.
Finally, it’s so important to be having fun on your journey. This was the ultimate drive for me, and every day I am finding new ways to have enjoy it. I am driven by the motto of: “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for”, and everything I have created is testament to this mindset. So ask for you desire, receive it, and have fun with it.