May 2024 1st edition

From battling cancer to building an empire

Written by Khanyisile Rasmeni

Surviving breast cancer has inspired Sthabile Amanda Nxumalo (26) of Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal to reimagine her nail salon business to reach more customers. 

Nxumalo is the owner of NailsbyStha, a business that she started in 2016 while studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus. 

She decided to open a nail salon at the end of the school calendar in 2016 because she wanted to generate  an income. 
“I wanted to do something that I am passionate about while I was on a break from my studies,” Nxumalo said.

The following year, when she was back on campus, she realised that she could make a lot of money by targeting students who wanted their nails to be maintained and decorated.

In 2020, she decided to discontinue her studies and focus on growing the business. At the time, the business had already employed four people. 
“During the lockdown, I had to tell my parents that I dropped out of school because I want to focus on what I love doing and they were supportive of my decision,” she added.

Because beauty salons were not allowed to operate during the hard lockdown, Nxumalo decided to teach people how to do their own nails.

Surviving Cancer 
In 2023, Nxumalo was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had to shut down operations and focus on her healing and recovery. 
She went through chemotherapy and radiation surgery, but the journey took a toll on her mental health and financial well-being because she also had a newborn baby. She felt that she could not fully parent her baby due to the disease. 

“One of my breasts had to be removed, but I had a positive mindset because I wanted to beat cancer,” she explained. 
After completing her treatment and declared cancer-free, Nxumalo decided not to open her nail salon but to rebrand her business. 

NailsbyStha now started selling press-on nails, which come in a kit that includes cuticle oil, cuticle-pusher, nail file, alcohol pads, sticky tabs, glue, and glue remover.

Nxumalo said this is still a foreign concept to many South Africans but she chooses to focus on providing these services because it has a market and people will soon warm up to the idea. 

She educates her clients on how to install the nails, according to their specifications and the time they intend to wear them. Nxumalo uses a courier company to distribute her products and the delivery takes five to seven days to reach her customers.¥

For more information, contact NailsbyStha on 073 572 9266
Instagram: @nailsbystha

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