ENTRANCE POLICY: Professional Beauty is reserved for trade and professional visitors only. Due to the professional nature of the event, babies and children under 16 cannot be admitted.
Thalgo celebrates women in business11 September 2017Johanna MukokiAward-winning business woman and entrepreneur, Johanna Mukoki, was the keynote speaker at a recent Thalgo event hosted by Marine Spa Distributors at The Marion on Nicol in Sandton.Mukoki, who is the co-founder and Group CEO of Travel With Flair, as well as the Thalgo Brand Ambassador, presented valuable insight to salon owners about what drives successful women in business.“I started from nothing 18 years ago and now I have a thriving company with 800 staff members. People are always asking me how I do it and I say that you have to believe in your dream and be passionate in order to succeed,” said Mukoki, who is a recipient of the Most Influential Woman in Business & Government in Tourism and the Ernst & Young Emerging World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.She stressed the importance of self-belief. “If you think you can do it, you will be able to succeed. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t do it. Apple’s Steve Jobs and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg both started with nothing other than breakthrough ideas. They had lots of people telling them they couldn’t do it but they believed in themselves and persevered. If other people tell you that you can’t do it, then show them that you can.”Mukoki recalled that when she started her business it was in the early days of South Africa’s democracy. “I was a young black girl with no money and no experience so I didn’t look bankable to investors and yet, here I am today. I love, love, love travel and that’s what drove me to make Travel With Flair a success. I wanted to learn to be a master of my craft. “As women you need to be balanced and happy in life to be able to succeed and remember that every day is a gift. If you have 24 hours in a day then work for 18 hours and don’t squander minutes by having a meeting with your sandwich at lunchtime. Take a look at yourself from the outside and see if you can do more. Life is full of challenges but God has given you a brain so use it for the greater good.”Following Mukoki’s talk, Camelot Group founder and CEO, Debbie Merdjan, spoke about how a genuine passion for the industry has driven her success.Said Merdjan: “I was lucky in that at age 15 I knew that my passion was health and wellness. Because I had nothing when I started out I realised that I would have to work very hard to achieve my goals. My biggest challenge as a female in business was trying to get a bank loan. In the 1980s it was impossible for a young woman with no assets to borrow money. I had to get a male to stand surety for me just to get a loan.”Merdjan spoke about ‘the psychology of money’. “I believe that the emotional relationship women have with money is what makes them successful. If women can just look at money as a currency for transacting business. Cash flow is critical. You need three months cash flow at all times. You have to sustain payroll which comprises 50% of expenses. “If your business is going badly, you can’t just sit around hoping that business will improve. You have to work at improving things. If you are not responsible with money on a personal level than you won’t succeed in business. If you don’t fear money and you can raise money, then you can succeed. Don’t be a slave to money.”In addition to salon owners being in control of finances, Merdjan stressed that the other crucial elements for running a successful spa or salon are client retention through excellent service before during and after treatments, and staff retention, as well as retail sales. (Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)