Lihle Malinga’s journey into business was not easy. Filled with passion and drive to make it in the beauty industry, this qualified chef turned beauty therapist and owner of LN Connoisseur Day Spa realised that it takes more than that to make a business work.
Originally from Dundee in KwaZulu-Natal, Lihle moved up to Johannesburg after she qualified as a chef. “I got my first job in Auckland Park”. She studied to be a massage therapist while working as a chef. “I discovered that I loved beauty more than the kitchen. I do offer cooking classes on a part-time basis when my schedule allows”says Lihle.
“I first thought of going into business when I was still studying for massage therapy. I was intrigued by the fact that I could be self employed while doing what I love and enjoy”. In 2012 Lihle and her former business partner Ntswaki formed Connoisseur Mobile Day Spa and they started operating in May 2012.
“Ntswaki and I had met at the Beauty Therapy Institute where we were both students. Sadly we parted ways as our business couldn’t cope with so much emerging competition. We were not equipped to deal with such at a time”. The pair decided to start separate entities in different towns.
In 2015 I decided to open up a spa in my home town of Dundee in KwaZulu Natal called LN Connoisseur Mobile Day Spa. I have never looked back and the lessons I learned while operating the first spa taught me to never give up the second time around.
My business offers massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and sauna services. All services except for the sauna are mobile, so clients can experience them in the comfort of their own home or venue of their choice. We also offer group treatments in the form of Pamper treatments (adults & kids). We are based in Dundee KZN and mobile to all parts of KZN and Gauteng.
The name LN Connoisseur was inspired by my name Lihle and daughter’s name Nolwazi. Connoisseur means expert in French and I’ve always loved that word and have always strived to be the best in my field in every way.
FAILURE LEADS TO SUCCESS IF YOU LET IT
The failure of this business would set her up to run a successful business in Dundee. She shares some of her experiences in both her business ventures…
THE FIRST EXPERIENCE: the biggest challenge was marketing. It was hard cracking into the beauty industry in a city where no one knows you. Lack of business skills was a big one. We had to teach ourselves everything we now know. All mistakes done with the first business taught us to do better in our next venture.
“MENTAL STRENGTH IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE WHEN SELF EMPLOYED”
THE SECOND EXPERIENCE: The second time around I think I was more mentally prepared more than anything else. Mental strength is of utmost importance when self employed. Another challenge that I faced was learning a small town’s target market and their spending habits. Fortunately I was better prepared for all of that and rode that wave up until I had established my loyal clientèle. In small towns people buy your “brand”and personality first before seeking your services. In cities people don’t need to know you, they need the services regardless of who you are.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT LIHLE
- I’m an extroverted introvert. I love people but also prefer my own space after a long day dealing with clients and people in general. I’m a qualified professional chef, who turned to beauty therapy.
- I’m a mother to the most intelligent child any mom could ask for, who is empathetic and sympathetic to everyone around her.
- I have two brothers and two sisters. Unfortunately my elder sister passed away two years ago and my father passed away last year. Fortunately I still have my mother who is an amazing support structure in everything I do.
- My achievements are my daughter Nolwazi, studying and qualifying for both my passion as well as building and sustaining a business through all its stages.
You can find LN Mobile Day Spa Connoisseur at
23 Beaconsfield Street
Shop No. 5 – Dundee 3000
071 743 23336
Back & Neck Massage R250
Full Body Massage R380
Hot Stone Back & Neck Massage R300
Hot Stone Full Body Massage R450
Indian Head Massage 20min R150
Pregnancy Massage R400