Tsitsi Gwemba is a woman in her early 30s who describes herself as an example of God’s grace.
“My main principle is to always do my best, and I always try to apply it in my daily routine,” Tsitsi told The Weight She Carries. “I can also describe myself as an industrious and optimistic person. My family and friends say that I’m always applying pressure. That’s because I love what I do.”
What inspired you to start Hair by Tsitsi?
This was the best decision I’ve ever made. I used to work at a local salon in town, and my clients used to feel uncomfortable because there were other hairstylists who would gossip about them, and I did not have my own space. Starting a business means you need to have clients. Well, I have created a bond with all my clients, and my main priority is for them to feel comfortable and feel like they are in a safe space. So that really inspired me to start my own business so all my clients feel welcome and at ease always. The main motive I started my business [with] is the relationship I have with my clients and the fact that I make them top priority.
Why did you choose starting your own business over a teaching career?
From a very young age, I have had a passion for hair. Growing up, I used to admire how people wore their hair, the confidence that a new hairdo could have on a person. It was then when I realised that I wanted to play a role in putting a smile on people’s faces, brighten up their day and boost their confidence by doing their hair.
I love what I do, and I was not willing to settle and pursue teaching because that would mean giving up on my dreams in order to fulfil societal standards that were set up for me. I’m content and happy that I chose to follow my heart. Through my decision, I have managed to even create job opportunities and groom others who are also passionate in pursuing hair dressing.
What challenges did you face when choosing your dream over a traditional career?
Firstly, I’d like to say my family has always supported my dream career, especially my older sister, who has been my biggest supporter in all my endeavours. But I’d say I mostly faced a lot of backlash for choosing this path from my community, who mostly assume that people in the beauty industry aren’t educated, which is not usually the case. For example, I have managed to get an education (I have a psychology qualification), which also helps me in having great relationships with my clients, which I’m very grateful for.
What are the greatest challenges you think women face when starting a business, especially in the beauty industry?
I think women in the beauty industry aren’t taken seriously, which is a challenge. And also, when starting a business, accessing funding in this country with high inflation is a struggle.
How do you overcome challenges in life as a businesswoman and as an individual?
I have a very supportive system (my family, friends, and my clients), so they help me. I also pray about it when it becomes too overwhelming. Blocking negativity also helps, but I also take positive criticism.
What is your advice to women who want to venture into the beauty industry?
My greatest advice is don’t rush your growth. Learn to be patient with yourself and your business. And also, remember that humility is a virtue, so always be humble and kind to your clients and treat them with care and respect.
I would love to believe that I am a kind and likeable individual. Some may call me a people person, if I may say. I’m resilient; I don’t crack under pressure. I push through until I get towards my intended goal. I’m a go-getter, a focused woman who knows what she wants and who will not back down or quit until she obtains it.