Nomlu raises the beauty bar
If you want to know how to rise from tending people’s nails at home to running a premium Nail bar in one of Gaborone’s up-market malls in the space of just three years, then Nomlu Nail Bar’s Nomsa Lukashe is the person to talk to.
Five draining years of office and marketing jobs left the trained 33-year-old Information Systems Technician increasingly disillusioned.
This building frustration acted as the motivation for Lukashe to pursue her passion. Despite boasting no formal manicure training, that’s exactly what she did.
“The Info Systems market was saturated and it was not easy to get a job,” she recalls, her eyes momentarily scanning her lavish office in the inner recesses of her beauty therapy studio at Fairgrounds Mall.
From the ambience and soft, relaxing music to the smiling receptionist, there is an unmistakable air of lavish self-care.
This is a huge contrast to five years ago when Lukashe quit her job to start developing her passion – a move that was temporarily halted by a maternity break.
The following year, 2017, she started learning on the job working from home. Nomlu Nail Bar was born.
As demand grew, Lukashe recruited assistants, soon realising she needed to relocate to bigger premises.
“It was a big move! We didn’t want to be your usual spa. I had seen the loopholes and wanted to close them. After my research, I decided to offer therapy instead of just doing nails. The moment you walk in, you want to stay and when you leave you to want to come back because we do our best. It’s all about the experience,” the Ghanzi born and bred mother-of-two explains with a proud smile.
Nomlu is made up of the first three letters of her first name and the first two of her surname.
The spa provides various beauty services, including manicures and pedicures, as well as men’s grooming, make-up, massage, waxing, and lash extension for the high-end market – or as Lukashe puts it, ‘anyone who can afford it’.
As well as high profile ‘influencers’ and celebrities, such as Tumie Nthutang and Vee’s glamorous wife Kagiso Sento, Nomlu Nail Bar counts industry chiefs, the wives of politicians and socialites as regular customers.
Lukashe attributes her enterprise’s rapid growth to finding a niche market, regular advertising through social media, and recommendations from satisfied customers.
“Our Facebook page is eye-catchy, consistent and interactive, plus we only share our work,” she adds.
Though she refuses to list names, Lukashe says her competition is other high-end spas.
But she is ready and supremely confident in her own product.
“We keep the quality of our work high through monthly refresher training to stay abreast of trends. That’s why we are ahead of others. Our products are also high end and we have relationships with customers and provide for their needs.”
Lukashe believes the industry remains in its infancy in Botswana and is still little understood.
“People still believe that taking care of nails is luxury and should be done only for weddings and other occasions. We need to teach kids from a tender age that it’s self-care and should be done regularly,” she maintains.
Although she has made swift progress in building her brand, Lukashe’s ultimate destination is to create a beauty and therapy empire. She is optimistic that things are moving in the right direction and excitedly reveals another Gaborone branch is imminent.
“Watch the space. Soon we will have our own product line and a global franchise of beauty services one-stop-shop. Our growth is exponential so ten years is a long time to achieve this!”
Passion is the key word in this business but you also have to be a go-getter with your own clear and unique vision.
“Don’t just do it like Nomsa did because it’s ever-changing and you need to persevere,” advises the bubby beautician.