At SearchKings™ Africa, we work with dynamic businesses, many of which are run by formidable women. In honour of Women’s Month, we took some time getting to understand what drives and inspires these women, what challenges they have faced and how they have unlocked their business potential.
Meet Shani Leon, mother of two and half (currently pregnant with her third child) and owner of My Appointment, one of the first local online booking tools allowing customers to make appointments with their preferred salon at any time, and ensuring business owners don’t miss a potential appointment.
Born out of personal experience, the My Appointment story is one with which so many women can resonate. “While I was consulting for Accenture and working at SABMiller, I found myself in a large open plan office surrounded by beer lovers” laughs Shani, “making it awkward to call and book a bikini wax.” By the time she then left to head home, the salon had closed and when it opened, Shani was back in the office without a quiet corner for a discreet call in sight. Sound familiar? “I thought, surely if you can book a hotel or flight online, then why not an appointment too?” and so the business was born.
Of course there were challenges in the beginning – namely changing the mindsets of older salon owners and less tech savvy customers. But once she won the owners over, showing them the power of being online, their customers followed suit, paving the way for what has become the defacto method to book appointments today for so many women. Shani is proudest when she reflects on the growth of the business and how they have scaled to offer full point of sale, offering a more holistic all-in-one solution.
Shani believes that given the various roles women play from wife to mother, women are able to truly maximise their time and do things efficiently. Her message to other women, ‘don’t be so hard on yourself. Focus 100% on what you are doing at the moment. There is Lara Benigson, entrepreneur, yoga teacher and animal lover owns Equilibrium, a holistic diagnostic audiology practice. Her second business venture, Lara founded the business on the premise of how she chooses to live her life – in a state of equilibrium. This of course echoes her professional life as a vestibular therapist specialising in balance and dizziness.
Lara believes that women in business have the advantage of deep empathy with a strong maternal drive to nurture both clients and friends. Of course in her line of work this is key. Lara started her business because she believes that physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wellness are all contributing factors to high functioning and being the most successful versions of ourselves.
For those women wanting to start their own business, Lara believes that doing the research and knowing what you are signing up for is critical. “Gather as much information as you can and make an informed decision.”
Lara Suttner, a scientist and side hustler, started her company Fabulously Fit in 2017 after identifying a stylish gap in the market. “ I received a strap for my Fitbit from an overseas family member, countless people commented how beautiful the strap was and how fabulous my Fitbit now looked. Being unable to find these straps in South Africa, Fabulously Fit was born. “Soon after launching we were inundated with requests for beautiful and affordable smart watches and so our business grew to include stylish, functional and affordable smart watches.”
As is the case in any retail environment, staying ahead of the competition is one of Lara’s main challenges which is why offering unique products and a seamless customer journey is key. The advantage of being a woman, and working with women is in the ability to relate on so many levels allowing Lara to tailor make her customers’ journey and experience with the brand. As for some of the unforgettable moments on this journey so far? Two stand out for Lara “One of those moments was without doubt becoming the sole distributor of Cactus Educational children’s Watches from Australia and recently bringing the internationally acclaimed brand for smart wellness devices, Bellabeat, to the South African market.”
So ladies, how about investing in your personal wellness this month – and if you need support doing it, let Lara and her team help you on your journey to becoming Fit, Fashionable and Fabulous! And we will throw in a 10% discount voucher till the end of September. Use voucher code: SearchKings
Meet the ladies of Annique Healthy and Beauty, led by Managing Director, Annalie Grobbelaar – the visionary, creative problem solver and formidable leader, Sales Manager Renette Josling who is compassionate and people focused and Adele du Toit, Marketing Manager, who is enthusiastic, an eternal optimist and a foodie. Together they lead a team of dedicated staff members and more than 10 000 loyal consultants in SA and Namibia.
A company born out of true maternal instinct, founder Dr Annique Theron discovered the natural healing powers of the South African herb, Rooibos, when she warmed her allergic baby’s bottle with warm Rooibos tea. Leveraging this incredible local treasure, which has since been scientifically proven to be a powerful remedy for various ailments, Annique was first in the world to include Rooibos in health and beauty products.
“Women bring diversity into a company which in turn breeds creativity” says Annalie “and of course there is the incredible benefit of women’s emotional intelligence. Right now we are living through a time when the ability to communicate and show empathy has never been more important for businesses.”
Designed to support the communities in which they work, their direct selling model empowers people to make a real difference in their own lives and the lives of their customers. Theirs is a business centred on people.
“For those women sitting on a business idea and toying with the idea of making it happen,” Annalie says “starting a business takes a leap of faith, and it can be daunting to take that initial step to execute it, so do your home-work. Talk to potential customers about the idea, look at what competitors are doing and ensure you have a robust Google marketing plan in place to unlock your business potential online. We need more female entrepreneurs in our society, so do it”.
Annalie, we couldn’t agree with you more. This Women’s Month we not only salute the success of our female customers but call on those who have an idea they believe in to let SearchKings™ Africa help them make it happen online.