Having a special eye for fashion and beauty trends from a young age, Mwenecho Phiri’s passion to enhance people’s beauty drove her to open Necho’s House of Beauty (NHB).
The Blantyre-based hairstylist started operating from home in Naperi but later, with the help of her supportive aunt, she opened a shop at Ginnery Corner in 2019.
She recalls: “Ever since I was a child, I would play around with dolls or try out hairstyles on my friends.”
Just do it, so the Nike slogan goes. Phiri kept this at the top of her mind as she explored he newly-found path. Today, NHB is up and running with all the necessary equipment to offer top notch beauty services.
But Phiri says it has not always been easy.
“There were days when my team and I would open the salon and close early because no one walked through our doors. It could be depressing at times, but we had to remind ourselves to go back on the creative board and come up with new ways to make things work,” she recounts.
Among the many things, her experience as a young business woman has taught her that time is valuable. She also emphasises on the need to build mutual trust with customers and to tailor services to each customer’s unique needs.
Phiri cited Covid-19 as one of the major challenges to the business, saying some customers stopped visiting salons for fear of the virus.
She explains: “The fear of contracting the virus created a setback for many projects that I had in mind for the business.”
NHB currently offers services ranging from hair, nails, waxing and facials, among others. They also offer massaging services strictly by booking.
The University of Namibia public relations and sociology graduate says in as much as her business makes her happy, she still wanted to put her degree to use but was unable to find a job until December last year.
Says Phiri: “I have always wanted to do both business and office work, although I knew it would not be easy. Luckily, my call centre job with TNM is a bit flexible. My work schedule is in shifts, which allows me to be in my beauty shop in the afternoon and go to work in the evening and vice-versa. When I am not here, my trusted team takes care of everything.”
One of NHB’s customers Linda Nankumba said the salon always offers excellent service.
She said: “Ever since I started going Necho’s, I have always leave satisfied with their work. What is more, they are all very friendly and open minded.”
During the launch of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Gender Equality Strategy for 2021-25, themed Investing in Africa’s Women to Accelerate Inclusive Growth, the bank’s gender, women and civil society director Vanessa Moungar said efforts to achieve outcomes and maximum impact on building gender equality on the ground for women to thrive are important for women do be self-reliant.
Phiri and her team have proven that with determination and a little creativity, women can be self-reliant.