The business of beauty

Siyamthanda Pesika Mfana turned her passion for beauty into a business. She gave us some sound business and marketing advice.

Siya, a 20-year-old student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, transforms her clients’ nails into miniature works of art and her nail art has attracted the likes of businesswomen and socialites.

The idea

As a National Diploma in Entrepreneurship student with a skill set in nail artistry, Siya had been preparing herself for an opportunity to make her girl-boss dreams a reality. ‘I had my hair done at City Salon and realised they didn’t have a nail technician. I suggested that I rent a corner in the salon for my nail bar.’ A few months later, in September 2017, the Siya Mfana Nail Bar officially opened.


For two years before this bold step, Siya prepared by perfecting her craft in her dorm room in student residence, giving students gel and acrylic manicures.

Making it happen

Siya’s student clientele were loyal and when she moved over to the salon, they went with her. They spread the word about her nail bar through word of mouth and social media. Instagram is the platform she uses to advertise her business. The Instagram account quickly attracted socialites and bloggers, who were quick to recommend Siya’s work to their legions of followers. ‘Social media has played a huge role in marketing my business,’ says Siya. Today @siyamfana_nailbar has more than 4 000 followers on Instagram.

Siya shared her marketing and business tips with us:

How to use Instagram for business marketing

  • Take good-quality pictures.
  • Put a small watermark on pictures of your products to prevent image theft. (Someone could claim that a picture of your work is theirs.)
  • Encourage your clients to upload pictures of your work and tag your brand.
  • Use hashtags in line with your image. For example, if you do food catering for events, use hashtags like #foodcatering, #partyfood and #mzansicuisine.


How to manage your business’s finances

  • Do not pay yourself too much in the beginning. View your business as a separate entity from you. This means the money belongs to the business and not to you.
  • Include all your costs, such as petrol, electricity and water, in your cost price. Mark up your prices by at least 2,5 times to make your business profitable.


Read more: How to look after your acrylic nails

Read more: Step by step: How to do fancy manicures the easy way

Read more: How to start your own business

Nail images: instagram/ubuhlehandmade. Photograph of Siya Mfana: Photography: Casey Bertie. Hair and make-up: Cheryl Parker/Supernova.