DURBAN – Creating a new dimension to her business, meant taking a leap of faith, writes Liz Clarke
When opportunity knocks, make the most of it. That’s the advice from hairstylist businesswoman, wife and mum, Memory Dzvifu.
She knows from long experience that putting ceilings on yourself stops you from achieving your potential.
“If you say to yourself, I can’t go any higher or achieve anything more, you are doing yourself a disservice” she says, surrounded by nail polishes buffs, files and exotic nail designs. Her shining work table tells you she she has embarked on a new journey in the beauty business.
She explains how it all came about.
“I have always been a hair stylist and know everything there is to know about hair health and the latest in hair designs. But one day a lady come into my small salon in Hillcrest and said, you do nails, don’t you?”
She admits the enquiry threw her a bit off guard as it was something she was planning to do, but hadn’t got round to doing it.
I could have said nom” she says. “I could have said I only do hair and not manicures, but then that would have put off a potential customer and closed the door on new business, which would have been really silly.”
Dzvifu had to think quickly.
“I remember smiling sweetly and telling her that I was so glad she had made the enquiry, as it was a service that I had planned for a long time and would shortly be introducing. I promised to give her a call as soon as I had everything set up. She thanked me and said she would wait for my call. She said she needed special treatment as her nails were in bad shape after using false nails for too long and needed someone who could help her. I said I was the right person!”
Within days, Dzvifu had enrolled at an accredited training centre in Kloof to learn about the latest techniques in nail care.
“Nail and hand care have always been a priority as hairdressers’ hands are particularly vulnerable. So for me nail beauty had to be combined with nail health, because you can’t have the one without the other. The course wasn’t cheap, but I felt that investing in another avenue of knowledge was the way to go. And I think I was right.”
She says that her training to become a nail technician was one of the toughest things she had every done.
“You just don’t realize how many things can go wrong with your hands and nails. Each nail problem, and there are dozens, have to be treated differently. We often take our hands for granted and yet they require an enormous amount of attention to keep them in working order.”
It starts, she says, with exfoliation and regular moisturising.
“I think hands give away a person’s age more than anything. We look after our face, but often neglect our hands. For me this was a central part of the learning process.”
The use of a range of bio gels that are not harmful to the delicate nail beds is the treatment and polishing technology Dzvifu has embraced for her business.
“But it didn’t come easy,” she smiles recalling the hours of practice that was needed to master the application and treatment techniques.
“There were quite a few exams and to gain your certificate of competency meant having to practice nail sculpturing, treatment and polishing on 50 willing candidates. I even used my husband as a guinea pig, which made his colleagues at work laugh. But it was worth all the hard work.”
Advice these days to her new nail and manicure clients is that achieving the desired nail shape, which is what every woman wants, involves a few challenges in the way. In other words, it is not an overnight miracle.
“Most women have brittle nails that peal and flake or even split, so getting them into shape can take time. There are quick fixes, but they often do more harm than good. I am more interested in the idea of long-term nail health. During the course I saw some nails that had been bitten down to the quick. You’d think there is no way you can make them look like anything, but now I know it is possible to treat unsightly and problem nails. It’s often about building the upper arch of the nail making it durable and beautiful again.”
When Dzvifu contacted the original lady who had enquired whether she could do her nails, she offered her a complimentary session.
“I don’t think she realized what an opportunity she had given me.”
But then this mum of two has always had the knack of seizing opportunities when they arise. When she was younger, she accepted a hairdressing job on board a luxury cruise liner travelling the world. When asked if she knew about sea travel she said, yes of course.
“The truth is that I had never seen a ship let along been on one. But that’s why I say never let ceilings get in the way.”