“Garai henyu apa nemwana” she told me with a wide smile. She was very kind and trying her best to make us feel comfortable.
So, we sat, with my daughter clinging to me like a second skin. She was just over 2 years old when I first decided to take her to a hair salon and have her hair done professionally, I had been doing her hair by myself at home till then as I am pro-natural hair. She usually would play and try to help me while I do this, but on this day, she was tense and weepy. The hair dresser was highly skilled, and the hairstyle came out beautifully, we were done in no time.
However, I kept feeling like there was more that could have been done to make the experience of a first visit to the hair salon for a child more pleasant and memorable. I would have loved for her to look forward to these visits considering how often a person needs to groom their hair. That is how Kuts n’ Kurlies was born.
Armed with the backing and encouragement of other mothers like me, we opened our doors in Meikles department store, Mutare. With my team of three, including a Barber and a stylist we soon discovered that it was a good move. The children responded well to our bright and child friendly environment while the parents responded to the cleanliness and safety both of the salon environment and the equipment used. Such that they felt comfortable to even leave their precious munchkins with us while they took care of some errands within the vicinity.
We enticed our little clients with colouring, play-dough, jigsaw puzzles, and the promise of a small toy, candy and a balloon at the end of each visit. We consulted and gave parents advice on the best ways to nurture natural hair at home. After about a year, the salon plateaued because the market wasn’t large enough even though our product was exceptional.
Life events caused me to move to Harare, again, I found myself struggling with the old problem of not finding a suitable salon for my 2 daughters. By this time, I was “spoilt”. Yet I was discouraged because of how Mutare had gone.
One day, in the car, at the traffic lights, I heard about the CBZ Young Entrepreneurs Program (YEP) on Star FM. I just felt like I could give it a try. It sounded competitive, and I wasn’t too sure I could make the cut. Lo and behold, I not only made it in, but all the way to the top 10. The YEP team was focused on building up the inner person. They had just the right kind of energy that I needed. With their motivational voice in my ears I set off to resuscitate my dream.
Jonah Mungoshi, a member of the YEP team, had a saying: “When you make a commitment, the Universe conspires to help you”. This is exactly what happened with me, although I call it God.
Starting with the $250 I won for being in the YEP top 10, I bought a sleeper salon basin, which is better suited for children than the chair type. I found a location at Tamba Tamba in Newlands, the beloved children’s play centre and this time, we renovated everything specifically to suit children. I put my all into it, and yet again trusted that the heavens would smile on me.
We opened on the 17th of May 2017, with the same model we had in Mutare, plus, a wall sized chalkboard, tablets, and the option of watching movies while they get their hair done. For the parents’ convenience, we sell natural hair products and accessories in the salon and we accept all methods of payment legal in Zimbabwe. The advantage of us being at Tamba Tamba is that there is free and safe parking, a restaurant that offers good food, free Wi-Fi, and the children love playing there before or after getting their hair done.
Our mantra is teamwork. We are a family of four professionals, and we work together to ensure that the child gets the best we can give, from reading them stories, or singing them nursery rhymes, and even piggy-back rides (bhabhu) if it will help enhance the experience. Have you ever seen the confident smile of a child who looks and feels beautiful? Priceless! You can see for yourself on our Facebook @kutsnk and Instagram @kutsnkurlies pages.
My greatest fulfilment comes when repeat clients walk in, it tells me we are giving them a quality service.
My message to young upcoming entrepreneurs is you have to stand out. Find that thing that makes you different. Make use of the wise people that surround you to bring your dream to fruition. Listen to advice that you receive and you will be on your path to success. The YEP program is making dreams come to reality and I am testimony to that.