Born 33 years ago, Lorraine Maphala Phiri has been nominated Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 at the Megafest Business Awards Southern Region. The former model is certainly making a mark in the business sector. Lorraine proves that she is a beauty with brains as she has established herself and booming business well.
Lorraine has exhibited exceptional modelling prowess both locally and internationally, distinguishing herself with a unique versatility that has seen her excel during the early stages of her career. SLA contributor Neo Cheda got to chat with her, however, about her career and her business venture: Real Hair By Lorraine.
Tell us about your modeling career, winning Miss Zimbabwe and going on to represent the country in Miss World.
Representing my country at Miss World had always been my dream. Since high school, I always had a desire to speak and be heard. Coming from a dusty suburb of Nketa 6 it was a dream I never imagined would come true.
Winning Miss Zimbabwe 2005 was a life changing moment for me as it opened doors I never thought I could go through. It was fulfilling and rewarding and proved to be a great platform for me to establish my career and brand.
Tell us about your business, what product or service you provide and who your target audience is.
Since the end of my reign, I have been busy growing Lorraine as a brand. Real Hair by Lorraine (RHL) is a proudly Zimbabwean brand specializing in 100% human hair i.e. Indian hair, Mongolian hair lace wigs, and all things hair. Real Hair by Lorraine Studio was then birthed after the hair brand when I realized the gap in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe for a professional upmarket hair salon.
We offer beauty services as well, nails and mail art. Our target market is every woman who desires to look beautiful, feel beautiful and be treated like the Queen they are. It’s a brand for every woman who understands the importance of quality over quantity. We don’t just sell hair it’s a lifestyle.
Women have also shown us great support and at the moment we have one branch in Bulawayo and an online shop which helps us supply hair products to customers in Europe, Harare and South Africa. We are different from most people in the hair business because we do more than just sell the hair but we educate our clients on the different types of hair and how to take care of it.”
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
Being a business owner for me means a lot of sacrifices, being able to change people’s lives through your work and empowering families by providing jobs. The fear of poverty and being ordinary inspired me to be an entrepreneur.
I became an entrepreneur because I love starting something totally new and seeing it come to life. I love challenging myself and I have always been a dreamer a big dreamer. From a young age I always knew that I would end up a businesswoman, I just didn’t know what kind of business I would venture into.The fear of poverty and being ordinary inspired me to be an entrepreneur - Lorraine Maphala Phiri Click To Tweet
How do you achieve work-life balance?
It’s an art and I’m still learning. However, having a strong support system at home makes it a lot easier and with my ability to prioritize, everything just falls into place.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why? How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?
My husband’s work ethic has been my greatest influence in my business, however, I have always aspired to be a business woman to be reckoned with. I would never be where I am today without the sacrifice of my parents who continued to pick me up even when my businesses hit rock bottom. Their encouragement and faith in my dreams
Their encouragement and faith in my dreams are what has kept me going. I am still work in progress I have not arrived yet lol. Maybe next time we speak I will be Dr. Lorraine.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Being founder and MD of Real Hair By Lorraine Studio.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
Start where you are with what you have, the best time to start is now.
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