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Black-owned beauty businesses urged to join BrownSense 15 January 2018 Black owned beauty, hair and nail salons, as well as spas, medical aesthetics clinics, beauty brands and distribution companies should take advantage of the benefits of networking on the BrownSense platform, which promotes black businesses. So says BrownSense founder, Mzuzukile Soni, who told Professional Beauty in an exclusive interview that he already has a number of beauty salons, mobile nail technicians and hair brands signed up as members of BrownSense. “I always describe BrownSense as a social media platform within a social media platform,” continues Soni. “It is essentially a FaceBook page and we have over 120,000 members, not only from South Africa but also from the US, UK, Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe. The way that BrownSense is set up allows for the fact that business is not static, it is always moving and there is always data. “BrownSense helps to do away with gatekeepers and gives access to markets in that it exposes members to a wealth of knowledge and expertise that is accessed through the other members on the platform. A great deal of commerce takes place within BrownSense; for example, members may hear of another member’s particular need for products and services via the platform and will contact them to initiate deals. I’m keen to expand the beauty and hair sector in terms of our membership.” Soni notes that BrownSense, together with Paybook (a digital marketing platform that helps business unlock revenue) and The Hook Up Dinner (a platform that provides a networking community of entrepreneurs who work towards contributiong towards each other’s success), has set up an asset crowd funding platform (The People’s Fund) which offers financial support to members. “This funding does not go to the business itself, but rather to whoever it is procuring from. For instance, a salon could apply for the funding to help it pay for equipment or shop outfitting. The funding is sourced both locally and internationally and we have already raised over R800,000 in just four months.” There is no membership fee for BrownSense, just an annual vetting fee of R450. Says Soni: “In order to become a member of BrownSense we do need to vet you as companies have to meet certain criteria. And, because businesses continually change, this vetting, which is outsourced to a third party, has to take place each year. “We have just launched BrownSense Verified, which is like a stamp of approval to show that a business is newly approved and goes beyond triple BEEE. This speaks to the authenticity of integrity of the businesses on our platform.” Soni revealed to Professional Beauty that he has commissioned a research study on the beauty industry called Insight, which will be released in the first quarter of this year. “There is an increasing number of black people who are taking pride in their appearance. I want the BrownSense database to help to get businesses in the beauty industry become more formalised,” he concluded. For more information log on to www.brownsense.co.za. (Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)
Cape Town 4 - 5 March 2018 Durban 20 May 2018 Johannesburg 2 - 3 September 2018 Education - Innovation - Inspiration