Phenomenal Woman: Founder and CEO of Desert Arabia Investments – Roxy Maqache

This week’s Phenomenal Woman is Rorisang Maqache who took that brave step into entrepreneurship.

I have known Roxy for a long time and watched her take a leap of faith and open the Tammy Taylor Nail & Beauty Spa business. I recently got my nails done there and it was always a wonderful experience. For those of you who are on the fence and need that extra courage and motivation, please read Roxy’s story and maybe one day you too will make the big jump.

  1. Tell us who is Roxy Maqache?

Roxy Maqache is a very spiritual person, a woman of prayer. I consider myself as the “daughter of a King (Jesus)” as per the hashtag on my social media posts. My first name Rorisang means Praise (the Lord), and I have adopted that position completely. I was raised in a strict, church-going family – my uncle (my father’s older brother), a retired preacher who ran his own church for many years in Lesotho and around South Africa, and my two fervently praying maternal grandmothers – God bless their resting souls. Although church and religion felt “imposed” on us at such a young age (I was probably 5 years old), I believe it shaped me and my sisters to become the praying women we are today.

Aside from that, I am a very simple girl – born and raised in Maseru, Lesotho – and blessed to have studied and lived in various parts of the world, gaining an international outlook on life. At present, I am the CEO of Desert Arabia Investments, which I founded in 2017 after leaving a 20-year corporate career in Consumer Insights and Market Research across various markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

2. You are brand new to entrepreneurism – tell us what made you take the “leap of faith”.

My leap of faith was exactly that – an audacity of faith so strong that some called it crazy. I remember colleagues feeling afraid for my boldness. In 2016, I started feeling unfulfilled in the job I was doing as an executive for a large manufacturing company. But I was not clear at the time on what I wanted. I have learnt that with every step I take in life, it is important that God is taking that step with me. Because if I go ahead of him, I will be on my own. So I recall having that conversation with Him, saying that I was ready to leave and needed him to open up another job for me in a new company. That has been our arrangement for most of my career. But for a whole year, all the job offers I was headhunted for did not feel worthwhile enough to make a change. This lasted for about 18 months and in that time I decided to register a company but only because everyone around me were registering companies. I still wanted a new job though. I remember a colleague asking me what my plan was after seeing all job offers coming my way and I said to him “God is not ready for me to move”.

It was in August of 2017 when I woke up one day, after numerous prayers, and I no longer desired a new corporate company to work for. Out of nowhere, I realised I had to work for myself. I had absolutely no fear of how I was going to do it. I knew then that God was ready for us to move. Within 1 month, I had submitted my resignation and started building my company portfolio, entailing what Desert Arabia Investments would be about.

3. Tell us about Desert Arabia and what you do? What are the product/services you offer?

Desert Arabia Investments has two main subsidiaries – Luxury Grooming and Research Consulting. I wanted to do something I was passionate about on one side, but also continue working in the industry space in which I had gained experience and expertise for the last 20 years.

Our Research Consulting offers an end-to-end market research offering, across a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In addition, we have a Coaching & Training arm, providing training to various agencies and Marketing/Insight teams on insight generation techniques and using consumer and market information for decision-making in the Marketing and Innovation process. Our focus is South Africa and the wider African markets.

The Luxury Grooming subsidiary has two businesses at present – Desert Storm fragrances, which is borne from my passion for Arabian perfume and my love for the Arabian Gulf. My ingredients are sourced from the Middle East and the collection currently comprises of Bakhoor (incense perfume) and concentrated perfume oils, as found in most of the Arabian region.

The Tammy Taylor Blue Hills is a franchise which I purchased in late 2017.

4. Tell us more about the Tammy Taylor Blue Hills offering.

Tammy Taylor Nails was established in the USA in 1983 by a lady called Tammy Taylor. She developed her own product line of premium nail products and has seen global success with this range. I purchased the Blue Hills franchise location in Johannesburg, South Africa to start, and am already working on further outlets to roll out. We offer manicure and pedicure services, alongside other beauty services such as facials, waxing, spray tanning, massages, makeup and hair care.

5. Why did you specifically choose the Tammy Taylor Franchise?

I was looking for a premium beauty franchise as I did not want to build a beauty brand from scratch, given that my fragrance brand, Desert Storm, would be brand new with no equity. I also wanted the fragrance brand to be merchandised at the franchise outlet. Therefore, a balance was required. Today, Desert Storm is exclusively merchandised at Tammy Taylor Blue Hill.

6. How does one get into franchising and what would you recommend to someone who is interested in this route?

Franchising is a good way of entering into an established business model (for both a new entrepreneur and an experienced one) and acquiring a brand that already holds some form of equity in consumers’ minds and in the market place. There is usually an existing Marketing Plan in place, and the Franchise Head office is very supportive in assisting new franchisees to roll out their respective outlets into the market.

I would recommend that you do the groundwork on the type of industry you are looking to enter, then choose the franchise brand which suits you best.

7. What are some of the key lessons you can share with someone who is also thinking of starting the journey?

Fear will paralyse you. Once you break down the wall of fear, there is a world of excitement and discovery awaiting you. The entrepreneurial journey is challenging indeed (especially financially), but most gratifying, as the rewards are for your own benefit and growth. It is great to be involved on all aspects of your growing company, as it stretches your mind and develops your ability to think on your feet.

8. How can people get hold of you?

I am available on RoxyM@desertarabia.org and our website is desertarabia.org.

I  am usually at my offices at Desert Arabia House in Blue Hills, the same premises where the beauty spa is located.

We also have a Tammy Taylor Blue Hills Facebook page, and a Desert Arabia Investments Instagram page.

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