Hair salon owner Botlhale Tshetlo believes that natural black hair is ‘uniquely you’.
Tshetlo owns Hairtural Studio, a natural hair salon based in Bryanston, Johannesburg, that does not use combs, hair dye or heat on its clients’ hair.
“We specialise 100% in natural hair. The vision of the brand is about being free, free to be. It’s about black consumers having the freedom to celebrate and enjoy the uniqueness of their natural hair – and not have it benchmarked against western standards of what beautiful hair is,” says Tshetlo.
She came up with the idea of her hair salon when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. This is a disease that can cause joint pain and damage throughout the body.
“I had to put my career in the finance industry on hold to get well at home. It was during this time that my creative flare came into play. In 2013, I was having a proper bad hair day. I let my afro free and made a decision to understand it better,” she says.
After struggling to find healthy, natural haircare products for herself and her children, Tshetlo started mixing her own products using ingredients from the kitchen, like olive and coconut oil.
“Our hair started getting healthier and that’s when friends and family wanted the products. When demand for the products grew, I knew I had to think about providing a service and looking at distribution,” she says.
Tshetlo formally launched her haircare range in 2014. In 2016, she opened her hair salon and, a few months later, opened Autum, a speciality retail store for natural hair and skincare.
With financial assistance from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), Tshetlo was able to get her products tested so that they meet standards set by the South African Bureau of Standards. She was also able was able to rebrand and market them.
She now manufactures her retail and salon treatments at the salon. “Being in the entire value chain of hair care is a competitive advantage. It also gives us a better overview and understanding of the entire industry,” she says.
Tshetlo employs 16 people, 11 in the salon, four in manufacturing and one at the retail store. She plans to open more branches across the country.
For more information, visit Hairtural Studio at www.hairtural.com or call 011 234 1642.
For more information about Seda support, visit www.seda.org.za or call 012 441 1000 / 0860 103 703.