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Practicing what she preaches

Business Teacher making a beautiful mark

A passion for beauty and lessons learnt while teaching Business Studies are turning a teacher’s business dreams into reality.

Armed with a Diploma in Secondary Education (Business Studies) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (Leadership and Change Management), Khumo Olebogeng Tshenyo looked destined for a career in the classroom.

However, her true passion burnt beneath the surface.

“I really enjoy my job as a teacher but I have always had a passion for beauty and one day in 2018 I decided to take it step by step,” says the mother of two boys.

Although still teaching, the 36-year-old intends to quit her job in the future to focus on her business.

She is quick to admit, however, that teaching business has made her a better business lady. Indeed, it is a two-way street, as her teaching has improved tremendously because she now talks about what she does daily.

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Tshenyo gazes skywards as she conjures up memories of the beginning of Upper Standards Enterprises.

Now employing for beauticians, Upper Standards has come a long way.

At first, Tshenyo would visit spas to do her nails but would stick around for hours observing how it was done. Later she decided to practice on her own nails.

“Friends and family were very impressed and asked me to do their nails. At first I did their nails for free to gain practice but later they invited their friends and I started charging.

“There was no going back at this point! I realized there was something special about what I was doing for so many people to keep coming. I ordered five gel colours online and got more as the demand grew,” she recalls, a nostalgic smile lighting up her features.

As her customer base increased, Tshenyo moved out of her friend’s garage to a small corner space at Block 3 shopping complex next to Tswana Spar.

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She remembers it was not easy to take such a big step because of the high rentals involved.

“I thought it would fail but my husband urged me on,” she reminisces with a chuckle.

More customers came and Tshenyo’s confidence grew.

Practicing what she preaches

Glowing: Tshenyo loves her job

She extended her services to include nail extensions but still customers wanted more. Eventually the small space could not handle the traffic and she decided to move to a bigger space in the same mall.

“The business is growing even though not at the desired rate. We now do bookings for group sessions, parties, weddings or just friends relaxing. In the future we will introduce waxing, massages, ombre powdered brows, facials, makeup among others,” she reveals.

Running a business is expensive. Rent, supply and other costs are ever rising and these are passed on to the customer, who in turn complain.

It is also challenging to find and train good employees, but Upper Standards has been lucky in that department. Tshenyo reveals that the two employees she started with are still here.

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Though she acknowledges there are older, more established businesses in town with bigger customer bases, she is unfazed by the competition.

“I have no pressure. I go at my own pace. The most important thing is good customer service, and we keep upgrading our skills through workshops, and online courses. We also do social media marketing,” she says.

In five years she plans to have branches around the country and offer training to budding nail and beauty artists. She also intends to start door to door services.

“My business gives me peace so I have to give it more time,” she reveals from her new studio, No5 between Spar and Tops.

To anyone thinking about venturing into a similar business, Tshenyo advices, “You have to be skillful and know everything that’s happening and keep up with trends. You should also love it and be prepared financially.”

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