Hannah used our HerVenture app to get her Johannesburg beauty salon through the pandemic and get started towards achieving her dreams of expansion. Here's how HerVenture became her "survival kit"!
Johannesburg, South Africa
I call it my survival kit! Some of us don’t really have access to a support system - I found mine in HerVenture.
Hannah Salimu is an entrepreneur based in Johannesburg. She started running her hair salon Oasis of Beauty in 2018 to provide for herself and her family, but also to bring a vital service and support to her community. In 2021, looking for a way to get her salon through the pandemic, she downloaded our HerVenture business skills app and found in it an incredible “survival kit”. Now, she’s one of 2,000 South African women who’ve used our app to successfully start and strengthen their businesses…
I’m Hannah, I’m a beauty therapist and I own Oasis of Beauty hair salon in Rosettenville, Johannesburg.
My work stems from my love of people. Beauty doesn’t only make you look good, it can make you feel good inside, and that’s what I want for other people. That’s where the therapy comes in: people get their nails or their hair done and they come in with all sorts of problems, or challenges that they face. And you talk to them about it. And they leave feeling better. But also looking good! So for me it’s this sort of ministry, haha, where we meet all these women from different backgrounds and try to kind of to instill back their confidence and make them feel positive inside.
I started my salon, Oasis of Beauty, four years ago. And we’re still here! I’d quit my job because it was taking up too much of my time and the hours were way too long. I kinda thought “ok, what am I going to do with my life?”. I didn’t have any capital, but I thought if I’m making money for the people I work for I might as well make it for myself and my kids instead, so I decided wanted a little space to support myself and my family. When you don’t have a support system, you’re always trying to find ways to make it.
So I came to the salon looking to rent a chair to do nails, but the lady who owned the place back then said she was closing down. I didn’t have anything at that time, but I said to her “you know what, if you give me two months, I’ll be able to buy the salon from you” – and she agreed! I went to my friend and I said “look, there is this opportunity, and I really want to do it, but I don’t have the funds”, and she just believed in me and my passion, and lent me the money. When I started I didn’t even have a rand, but I had a belief in myself and I knew that I could do it. And that’s how I got the place. I took over and I’ve been running it ever since.
In our African culture, we believe that it’s not your parents who should support you but that you should be or do something in order for you to support them. So when you’re running a business you’ve got a whole lot of responsibilities: family to support, parents to support – they’re all looking to you. When you think like that, failure is not an option, you just have to make it work. And I think that’s one of the reasons that just keep you going. It’s not always good but, you know, you just have to wake up and try another day.
Since COVID-19 started I’d been having challenges keeping the business going. I spoke to a friend of mine and I said, “I don’t know what to do, you know? Do I give up?” and she introduced me to the HerVenture app, saying maybe I could get some knowledge or something from it. I went and downloaded the app and I was just blown away by the kind of information that it had. The kind of knowledge that you get from it – some of the things I just never knew: bookkeeping, accounting, how to just keep going… For me it played a big role. I call it my survival kit! Some of us don’t really have access to a support system – I found mine in HerVenture. When I’m having challenges I always go back to the app and say “Okay, where am I going wrong? How can I do it right?” It’s power packed, you know, it’s got everything. Even things that sound pretty standard, like getting on social media, social marketing and how to put yourself out there – it teaches you all that. So it’s played such a big role in my business, and my life!
I downloaded the app and I was just blown away by the kind of information that it had.
The app focuses on your business and on you as the owner, but also on the people around you, and how you can be a team player and create a positive business culture. It supports you to motivate the people that you work with, to make sure you’re resting, and to have a healthy balance between personal life and work. This has really helped me a lot because with the stress of running a business you don’t always think to maintaining that balance.
Things had been slow but then the Foundation came out with new HerVenture training material on business resilience through crisis, with strategies for how to recover – not just for your business, but for yourself as an entrepreneur and your life. Things like mental health, wellbeing, being self-motivated and how to support the people working with you. That’s been amazing.
I just kept wanting more knowledge – I was hungry to know how to have a successful business, so I just dived into the app and couldn’t stop. I was crazy about the app! I think I was one of the first people to finish the whole course and get certified. That felt good. Now, every time I’m having challenges where I’m feeling like I’m not managing my finances in a proper way, I still go back and I say, “Okay, I know where I’m going wrong, and how I can set it right.” And then I take that knowledge and implement it and see how it works. With the app, I know everything that I want to know about business, but it also empowers you as a woman – you’re empowered with knowledge.
Preparation is key. I’d recommend other entrepreneurs to start out by getting the information they need first. Sometimes we just jump into a business without understanding it. HerVenture teaches you how to start and run a business, so then you’re prepared for everything, all the challenges that you’re going to face with it. That’s why it’s so important to download the app and learn.
The app also teaches you how to expand your business – step by step, what strategies to take. Having worked with franchises before, you just figure out how they do things. I just thought okay, if I can have the same place somewhere else, that would be great! But all that confidence came from the app! Now I’m like “Okay, I know I can do this.” HerVenture also teaches you to not only focus on physical locations but also on expanding by selling online. If you’re running a salon you tend to just think about the services you provide, but we’ve got things that we sell here too, and so we can open an online store and sell our products and expand that way. We’re hoping to grow to more locations too – and to really be a solution for our customers. That’s what it’s about, we’re not just providing a service but we’re also giving people solutions. That’s what we’re here for.
I feel like I’m more prepared now to expand. In the future my dream is to open more franchises for Oasis of Beauty. And I feel like by then I will be ready – I mean, I’m already ready now with all the tools and knowledge that I’ve gotten from the HerVenture app.
Made possible by...
HerVenture is available in South Africa thanks to funding from our partner DHL Express.
Partnering for impact
We were able to bring HerVenture to South Africa thanks to our partnership with DHL Express. The extraordinary support of our private sector partners, trusts, institutions, and foundations enables us to deliver projects that touch the lives of thousands of women entrepreneurs across the world. We're always seeking new partners to bring our work to more women, countries and regions!Find out more
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