Lesego Pearl Thepe is a 20 year old from Bloemfontein and is currently a second year hospitality student at the Central University of Technology with aspirations of becoming a chef. Lesego is also a business woman and owner of Goddess Virgin Hair.
Lesego grew up in a household of five that consisted of her parents and two sisters, and describes her childhood as great and full of amazing memories before her father passed on. She attended Wilgehof Primary School and proceeded to Bloem High where she completed her matric. After matric she initially wanted to study education, but the course was full. She considered taking a gap year, but her mother was against it and that’s when she enrolled at Motheo TVET College in 2018. It was during this time that Pearl sold food at the taxi rank because she had so much time on her hands.
“I thought to myself let me do something to keep me busy and make money while at it” she says. Though it was not easy, Lesego explained that the challenges she faced were having to wake up early, precook food, finishing up late at the taxi rank and she would sometimes struggle with transport but the money she made from selling plates was worth it. She eventually stopped selling food because she could not balance it with her school work when she later enrolled at the Central University of Technology in 2019. Although hospitality was not her first choice, she fell in love with it and that is how she decided at the Central University of Technology.
Asked about how her hair business “Goddess Virgin Hair” came about, she told us that she would usually buy hair from China and people would often ask her where she bought her hair. This is when her mother suggested that she starts selling hair, but she didn’t really give it much thought. People continued asking her to buy them hair and given that she could already make wigs, her boyfriend advised her to do both the wig making and selling hair.
Starting any kind of business is a big risk because everyone has their trusted suppliers and getting into a competitive market like the hair business is a big gamble as a lot of people are currently in that business. Though Lesego lacked confidence with regards to starting the business, she says the support she has been receiving has been amazing.
During December 2019, Lesego went for training/practicals at Madikwe Lodge in North West not far from Botswana. She was doing her practicals as a waiter and chef. “What I learned there is that if you don’t believe in yourself no one will” she added. She further tells us that she went there mentally prepared, which made things a much easier for her even though her working hours were intense as she was not only working as a chef, but as a waitress as well. She was on leave when the country went under lockdown, forcing her to stay home and cutting her training short.
While she was away, her cousin had been managing her business with help from her partner who ensured that her clients’ hair was delivered on time. Asked how COVID-19 affected her business, she explained that she couldn’t buy hair from her supplier given the regulations that were put in place. The virus outbreak was at a peak, everything became expensive and business had slowed down. This had impacted Lesego’s source of income, she then decided to sell scones while her hair business was on hold.
Asked about her goals, she told us that her short term goal is to buy stock in bulk so that when clients buy hair they are able to get it immediately to avoid the waiting period. She also intends on employing one or two people to help her with making wigs.
Lesego would love to be a hair supplier one day, owning her own warehouse selling hair at a reasonable price. She would also like to sell different ranges of hair e.g synthetic hair given that not everyone can afford human hair.
We wish Lesego well in all her future endeavours !