Maleka’s business, Fountain of Beauty, a 100% woman-owned beauty wholesale, retail and service provision company, was amongst the three SMME’s that finished on top at the Vaal SMME Awards for 2011/2012, held at the end of June.
The winners were selected following a rigorous evaluation process conducted by The Institute for Applied Human and Management Science in South Africa, during which 182 SMME’s from the region were assessed. In the end, it was the three businesses with the highest overall score across several categories who came out on top.
Maleka says she was motivated to open her business in 2007 because of her passion for beauty and a desire to promote health and wellness amongst beauty-conscious women within the community of Sebokeng.
The business has been doing well and has grown tremendously since 2007. Paula currently employs 10 qualified professional stylists and offers a selection of beauty services and additional treatments such as manicures, pedicures, polishes, sculptured nails and nail arts. The salon also offers skin care services including facials, body waxing, massage and others, as well as retailing a wide range of beauty and hair-care products. “My intention is to be a one-stop-shop addressing all the beauty services and needs of women in my community, and to open up several franchises in other locations in the not-too-distant future,” says Paula with a trademark dazzling smile.
Although Fountain of Beauty has been growing as a business, Maleka points out that accessing finance for growth remains a challenge. “It is always difficult to run a business, especially if you don’t have financial backing. It is also crucial that you have the right staff who are committed and share the same vision for the business as you do,” explains Maleka.
Despite these challenges, her focus, irrepressible nature and strong work ethic has seen her selected as one of the Top 10 finalists in the Vaal Business Woman Contest in 2008, along with being voted the 1st Runner up and Rising Star in the 2011 Old Mutual Legends Programme Awards. Legends is a Business Development initiative which supports small businesses through mentoring and skills training, as well as running several workshops every year to create a healthy and vibrant small business sector in SA.
When Paula first started her business, she says that it was not profitable and she initially lost a lot of money. Since then, the support of initiatives such as Legends as well as an increased focus on strategic and business planning has helped her to succeed. “I have an entrepreneurial spirit and a never-say-die attitude; these are two such important traits for any entrepreneur, but especially for a female one. At the moment my future looks so bright it burns my eyes!” she concludes.
(( Photo Credits: Ocean Photography | Veer ))