Namibia: Tough Times Push for Entrepreneurial Creativity

With the country still facing tough times, it is imperative that entrepreneurs come up with innovative and creative ways to survive.

Not shying away from stepping out of their comfort zone, and adopting innovative ways of doing business, entrepreneurs Hilma Enduwa (29) and Josia Kapepu (31) started a hair and beauty salon, which requires clients to subscribe.

The two partners, who were real estate agents, called their venture which they started in June this year Gako's Subscription Salon.

Enduwa explained that they wanted to move away from the norm in the beauty industry by introducing a new business model, a subscription salon.

"In a nutshell, we are a salon that operates strictly by subscription, and we offer unlimited hair and beauty services to our clients for a once-off price valid for 12 months," said Enduwa in an interview with The Namibian.

She explained that the idea was influenced by day-to-day challenges, in addition to the current economic crisis.

The young entrepreneur added that looking good is a necessity for most, but can be costly, "so we wanted to come up with a solution that will ensure that we always look our best, on a budget."

Enduwa said consumers and the industry have evolved from services to experience, and this had also motivated Gako's business model.

"Great changes outside the beauty industry indicate that it is time to create a new business model within our industry, so we decided to build a model designed around the emotional needs of the new and savvy consumer. It is safe to say we identified a target market that helped us put together a business plan for a new salon/beauty parlour," she reasoned.

She enthusiastically added that they are pleased with the overwhelming responses to their subscription packages, as the number of subscriptions are flowing in, with increased bookings from potential clients.

"This is because we are taking in a limited number of subscriptions. In short, business is moving positively, and we look forward to achieving our goals," she said.

Kapepu noted that their business model already sets them apart from other people in the industry, and they are affordable.

He said: "A client pays a once-off amount for the whole year, and within those 12 months of their subscription, they are welcome to make appointments every week of the year, four times a month for unlimited hairstyles."

Kapepu explained that their business model will not be the only reason why a client visits their salon, but also because of other benefits.

"We aim to create an ambiance in our salon that will have clients feeling at home and relaxed. We want to help our clients feel good about the way they look," he said.

However, their biggest challenge would be to make people understand the new business model, and how it will help the customer make a saving.


The duo furthermore plan on manufacturing their own line of beauty products in future, and this is not too far-fetched because they currently manufacture fragrances and cleaning detergents.

Another plan for the partners is to expand nationwide, with Kapepu saying: "We might even look into expanding into the beauty game as a whole spa facility. They say fortune favours the bold."


One of their clients, Sarti Shikongo, said salons are usually out of her comfort zone, but Gako's Subscription Salon made her feel welcome.

The salon staff have great communication from the moment a client calls in for an appointment until they get to the salon, with a relaxed atmosphere offered, she added.

"My hairdresser took time to listen to what I wanted, and seemed to understand my vision. Additionally, the coffee and wine offered is an added drawcard," beamed Shikongo.

Miriam Valdivia said since she subscribed to Gako's, she feels more confident about her natural hair.

"In all honesty, natural hair takes a lot to manage, and now that every single week I get an opportunity to have it done, it's absolute bliss," she added.

Valdivia also thanked the hairdressers, who are so friendly and always eager to help. "I wish all the ladies could take on this opportunity and save big-time on the amount of money they spend monthly on their hair and nails. As for me, I have no more excuses for bad-looking nails and bad hair days."

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