The Star Late Edition
Empowering women to prosper
PHIWE MNGADI has one mission on her mind: training the best permanent make-up artists in the country.
“So far I have taught more than 500 people. The most popular and talented in the country went through the Plush Art Studio training. I am really passionate about that,” said the 33-year-old entrepreneur.
Her natural creative ability came at an early age and so did her flair for entrepreneurship. “I knew I’d be an entrepreneur in high school because I was already selling things and massaging people’s hands for R5. By matric I was already doing people’s nails.”
Mngadi started her business right after high school because her parents did not have money for her to further her studies.
“My brother had a salon and I would go and work there. I watched and learnt how the woman who was the nail technician did people’s nails. It took just two Saturdays of watching her and I knew what to do.”
Mngadi started to work for herself, providing a mobile nail technician service to clients in and around Soweto.
She officially opened her business Plush Nail Art Studio in 2015, servicing a client base that includes the likes of Natasha Thahane, Thando Thabethe and Palesa Madisakwane.
Her business now trades as Plush Art Studio and she specialises in permanent eyebrows, lipcolour, eyeliner and lasering off tattoos.
“I’ve never worked for anyone but myself. I am passionate about us as black people making a mark in the industry. We deserve to be taken seriously for our own talents.”
Mngadi’s business is largely about empowering other women to create employment for themselves by teaching them how to do permanent makeup. “I have a great passion for teaching. I simply love it. The passion I have for my brand can be seen everywhere from my social media platforms to my products. I see the vision. My goal is to produce the best permanent makeup artists in the country.”
Mngadi is constantly travelling across the continent offering beauty training to other women who want to invest time into a skill that will earn them some money. Her travels have taken her to Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, among others. Last year, Mngadi travelled to Los Angeles to complete her micro-blading course.
“To become an entrepreneur in the beauty industry you have to find a way to convince people to come to you. Why should they come to you? Many people do hair and nails, so you have to figure out what makes you stand out and what you will bring to the market. Offer something different and market yourself well.”
She often documents her story on her social media platforms to show others that anything is possible through hard work.
“I grew up in Pimville, Soweto. My mom was a tea lady, my dad was a clerk. Both of them never finished high school but they never pressured me to have an educational degree.
They always wanted me to be me and do what I wanted to do. I grew up as a normal child who had dreams and I have been making sure I fulfil them.”
She said she wanted to make sure people knew that going to university wasn’t the only route to determine a future. “I document my journey because it is important to show how getting into this industry changed my life. We live in such interesting times. The world has changed, it is no longer ‘9 to 5’ or just degrees that work, it is about creativity and that is a skill that is now more important than money.
“I love to show how anyone can be somebody, just learn how to be creative. I feel strongly about women working for themselves and not relying on being dependent on a job.
“I know that it is not for everyone but if there are more women I can influence to go on that path, it will be for the better. It comes with a lot of pain and hard work but it is worth it in the end.”