After quitting their underpaying jobs in 2011, Gaolatlhe Phaleng, 40 and Lebogang Maleka, 30 of Mabalane were just home contemplating ways to bring income when they decided to start Angels Hair Collection.
The two business women sell wigs, braids and other hair products as well as operate a food vending business at Gaborone’s Finance Park.
Last year in October they realized that they needed to make more money every day to grow their business and started vending food.
Phaleng says they used to watch her father, a former Holiday Inn chef cooking and their love for food developed.
“We worked for a cosmetic shop at the station which did not pay well even though we worked long hours,” says Phaleng.
They sell rice, samp, and maize meal with either chicken or beef stew for a low budget of P12.00.
“While still employed we noticed that there was a lot of money in hair products even though we were not paid much so we decided to open this business.
So we started buying weaves, braids and braids from Zambia and Zimbabwe to sell,” Phaleng further says.
Her partner Maleka adds; “When we started, business was good because some of the customers from our former employer supported us.
Most of our customers are youth. We started with a table at the station because we figured that was a good place to start with all that people traffic.”
The duo come to Finance park for about an hour and half to sell lunch and then go out to deliver hair products to customers.
“We don’t want to cook more food than we can sell.
You see we cannot spend a lot of time here because we have customers waiting for their deliveries,” Maleka explains.
While they say business is good, the two ladies know that in winter their customers don’t change hair styles much.
This is one of the reasons they had to start the food vending business.
“The hair business is a seasonal one.
In winter, a lot people plait singles and can stay for three months with that,” Maleka says.
Challenges for their food vending business come from competition from other food vendors, but these two have stuck it out as others came and went.
Phaleng says; “It was very tough when we started, but we held on.
We know that in business there are ups and downs yet one must not give up when it’s hard.
To stay afloat we increased our food quantity and treated our customers with smiles and love.”
The ambitious ladies say they plan to explore catering and take advantage of tenders for their food business.
They are also thinking about opening a shop for their hair products and operate a rent a chair salon.