Reducing costs and increasing convenience equals business success
Although trained and equipped to provide quality services to their clients, many hairdressers in Ghana were not able to find success with their craft due to the challenges related to maintaining a physical location for their businesses. Despite the popularity of salon kiosks, many hairdressers found this option too costly in comparison to their business volume. In addition, many communities are actively limiting kiosks to help with city aesthetics or to make way for larger construction projects. As a result, there are a growing number of women in this profession who are unable to make a living.
After evaluating the obstacles to connecting beauticians with potential clients, the Enactus team at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology devised a creative solution that would be cost-effective and convenient: mobile salons. Realizing that hairdressers struggled to establish their services and many working women found it difficult to make it to a salon, the team found a solution in creating a home delivery system. Bringing hairdressers directly to clients would eliminate the need for a building or kiosk as well as the need for clients to travel and wait at a salon. The team further saw this could be developed with minimal financial input on the part of participants.
To bring this idea to fruition, 20 beauticians were organized into a co-op (with the backing of the Ashanti Region Chapter of the National Hairdressers and Beauticians Association) and given business training that included bookkeeping, marketing and personal finance. Next, the team helped participants develop business cards to help gain customers and identify them as part of this new unique group of mobile salon providers. This, along with Facebook, word of mouth and leaving business cards door-to-door at homes and offices, quickly raised awareness for this innovative service and put these women back to work.
The “Mobile Salon” project is making it possible for 20 professionally-skilled hairdressers who were previously unemployed to have sustainable incomes. Currently, the average monthly net profit of from the venture is GH¢300 per participant. This new found success and confidence has even led some of the hairdressers to further their offerings to include hair products and accessories. Just as impressive, the team’s business model is also being considered as a solution for other struggling professions.