It’s a scary time for anyone starting a new business in South Africa, just ask Phali Makopo who has recently opened a new Sorbet MAN franchise at the Fourways Mall in Johannesburg. The salon opened its doors in June, before the personal care industry was given the go-ahead to start servicing clients again under advanced level 3 lockdown. With over 3 months without income from clients, salons have been some of the hardest hit during this trying time.
For Makopo staying afloat was all about innovating and out-the-box thinking. She hustled to find ways to survive during the Covid-19 pandemic and now the young, female business owner is sharing her solutions with fellow business owners.
According to Makopo, her new Sorbet MAN franchise offers everything South Africans have come to love about the Sorbet MAN brand and includes a few unique features. Of course, COVID-19 life is very different from what it used to be, and consumers are demanding a different type and level of service. But Makopo is confident her business will succeed.
“Some people might be surprised to see me entering this particular area, but it’s a very exciting sector to operate in with a huge amount of growth potential,” says Phali Makopo who is relishing the challenge. One of the solutions Makopo and her team are implementing is giving clients more options to use their products and services without having to pop into the salon.
“It’s a huge period of change, obviously, but I think everyone working and shopping in a mall environment will actually adjust pretty quickly,” she says. “And for those with different requirements, we’re offering other options, like home deliveries.”
All Sorbet MAN Fourways retail products can now be ordered via a simple phone call, Whatsapp message or email – which will no doubt make life easy for those not able to access the store itself.
“We’ve made the delivery system as simple and quick as possible, and really it’s a case of whatever works for the customer,’ Makopo explains. ‘If someone wants to order over the phone, they’re welcome to give us a call at any time. Otherwise, Whatsapp or email are just as good.”
And for those who assume Sorbet MAN is all about heavily bearded men, it’s time to think again. In fact, Sorbet MAN products are equally popular with younger generations, including school goers and teenagers.
“Absolutely! Teenagers are a very important market for us,’ says Makopo. ‘They actually use a lot of our products, and we’ve designed many of our launch promotions with them in mind, including a 20% discount off all products bought by students from schools in the surrounding area, from Monday until Wednesday.”
For those wanting that personal in-salon touch, the salon is also open to welcome customers with a full-service menu. So, if lockdown life has damaged your personal style, and you live in the Fourways area, help is just around the corner. Makopo and her team at Sorbet MAN Fourways have put all the necessary precautions in place to ensure clients are safe and happy.
“Health and safety are a huge point of focus for us,’ says Makopo. “All our employees have the best possible personal protective equipment, and we’ll be scanning all customers’ temperatures at the door. Haircuts, shaves and all other treatments will also take place with staff wearing once-off protective gloves, face masks and visors.”
Managing a fledgeling business during the Covid-19 pandemic is no easy task, but business owners like Phali Makopo set a shining example to fellow South Africans that there are still opportunities to take advantage of. By sharing her experience and tips Makopo hopes to encourage many South African business owners to find solutions and adapt.