Ivy Evidence Muchengi is a 34-year-old entrepreneur, motivational speaker and advocate against gender-based violence. She is the woman behind Makanaka Makeover Bar and Six Inches. The Weight She Carries caught up with her to learn more about her brands, what drew her to business and who she is as a woman.
Tell us more about Makanaka Makeover Bar and Six Inches.
Makanaka Makeover Bar is a business which specializes in beauty therapy aimed at boosting the confidence of the Zimbabwean woman and the girl child. The company operates from a beauty studio in the Harare Avenues area. The studio is a safe haven for all women [to] talk about issues affecting them and also get inspired. Makanaka Makeover Bar is named after my only daughter Makanaka.
Six Inches came about as a subsidiary of Makanaka Makeover Bar. The brand specializes in shoes for the professional woman and also for casual wear. The brand’s main objective is to diversify income streams for the business and also cater to other clients who do not necessarily need beauty products and services.
What makes you unique, and why would people choose you compared to your competitors?
What makes Makanaka Makeover Bar and Six Inches unique is attention to detail and the deliberate customer-centricity stance that the business has taken. Both brands are built around customer needs, and every service and product is custom-made for that particular customer. We believe that no two customers are the same hence the variety of services and products we offer to meet each and every customer’s needs.
At Makanaka Makeover Bar, our motto is “where we love to exceed your expectation.” This is one of the ways we have managed to be a cut above the rest as far as competition is concerned.
What skills should one have to make it in this industry?
Firstly, one needs to be passionate about what they do. You have to be someone who can do this every day, even without any payment, and enjoy it all the way. Secondly, one has to have the proper training and always keep abreast of current trends and innovations. Thirdly, you have to be strategic, courageous and intentional about what you want to achieve. So goal-setting is very important in this industry.
What would you say are the essentials for a woman to make it in business?
Women have to believe that they have all it takes to make it in business. There are a lot of opportunities out there waiting to be explored. So researching about your business is very critical and so is training. Training can be formal or informal through mentorship programs. If women are passionate about their businesses, they can even start without any huge investments. The notion that one needs a lot of capital to make it in business must be corrected.
What is your motivation behind being a gender-based violence (GBV) activist?
My motivation behind me being a GBV activist is that I was once a victim of GBV at some point in life. I then managed to get out of the toxic relationship and gave myself a second chance in life. To me, this proves that people can beat GBV and live normal lives again and contribute fully to community development and live fulfilling lives.
Being in an abusive situation was the lowest point in my life. At first, I was confused about what was really happening since I had grown up in a peaceful family. Then I got to a stage of blaming myself, thinking maybe I deserved the beating; maybe I provoked him, so he has the right. Then I got to a point of shaming myself, bitterness, anger all the time and low self-esteem.
All that made me feel like less of a woman, and I lost my confidence, and it broke me. That’s when I made a decision that it’s either I leave or I continue to suffer like that. And trust me, leaving was the best decision I made because it liberated me and my son from the abuse. And with support from family and friends, I managed to pick myself up and never looked back.
What does it mean to you to be featured in “GoGetter Movement Founding 100?”
It’s an honour to be featured in the “GoGetter Movement Founding 100” book. I now have a network of influential women who can add to my development both personally and professionally. It has also given me a platform to make a difference for other women and girls and make their dreams come true.
How has this feature shaped you as a woman in business?
This feature has given me more focus and determination to make it in business and leave a legacy for my children and generations to come. It has also given me an opportunity to mentor young passionate girls to reach their potential.
What advice would you give to business woman out there?
My advice to business women chasing their dreams is to owe it to themselves to find out their purpose and surround themselves with people who support their visions. They must not relax but keep on enhancing their skills through research and continuous studying.
One great writer once said, “Go to bed with a dream and wake up with a purpose.” If you are positive, you will see opportunities instead of obstacles. You must keep going. Rough roads lead to beautiful destinations.
Do not fear failure; fear staying stuck. Maybe your idea is what the world is waiting for, so you owe it to yourself to find out. Do not give up. The beginning is always the hardest.