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By Mosa Matela
The owner of Elly’s Hair Salon, Itumeleng Matlotlo, is a savvy entrepreneur.
She tapped into her business acumen to open a hairdressing school in a move calculated to grow both her brand and the beauty industry in Lesotho.
Inspired by Matlotlo’s desire to share her knowledge on all things beauty and hair, Elly’s Hairdressing School is a registered academy that enables creatives in the beauty industry to improve their knowledge and skills.
The mission of the academy is to produce advanced hair and beauty graduates; provide quality hair care services and nurture upcoming hair and beauty enthusiasts.
Thirty-year old Matlotlo is a passionate beauty enthusiast and entrepreneur, who began her venture in the beauty industry by opening up her own hair parlour.
After a barrage of requests to provide the youth with training against the backdrop of the high unemployment rate in the country, she eventually opened the country’s first Ministry of Education-commissioned hairdressing school in January of 2020.
Operating from Makhaleng Shopping Complex, the academy offers a number of non-accredited courses on make-up artistry and hairdressing. These courses equip enthusiasts with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to either work in existing beauty parlours or open their own practices.
Matlotlo’s journey in the beauty industry began with her starting a small side hustle that was meant to keep her afloat.
After testimonies from satisfied clients, she decided to take a leap of faith and open a salon in 2016. Continuous praise and admiration from clients and enthusiasts prompted her to open her academy and share her talents with the nation.
In spite of being a revolutionary in the beauty industry, Matlotlo comes from extremely humble beginnings.
Growing up in penury meant Matlotlo had to endure extremely difficult circumstances throughout the first few stages of her life.
After giving birth to her son in 2012, Matlotlo decided that enough is enough and began her side hustle, which would see her braid hair in her rented apartment while pursuing her degree in Journalism at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.
“I had to endure a lot of bullying from my peers. A lot of them made fun of me because they noticed I was the primary breadwinner at home and I could not afford to live comfortably like them.
“One day a fellow student threatened to sue me for the fun of it, because she was aware that I would not be able to pay for legal fees. I harboured that pain, turned it into motivation and promised myself that I will not die poor,”
She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 2016, but decided to nurture and grow her side hustle as it was proving to be promising. It has only been an upwards spiral of growth since then.
The academy is open to people who are new to the industry – who enrol in six-month courses – and people who wish to expand their knowledge. The latter are encouraged to take up three-month courses.
Those interested may apply on the company website, ellyshairdressingschool.co.ls. They may also contact Matlotlo via email on email@example.com or via telephone on 596033477 / 57622074.