Herman Mashaba, founder of the well-known Black Like Me products, began his career as a hair product sales representative. In 1985, his burning ambition to develop his career got the better of him and he borrowed some money to start his own business. He started manufacturing hair products from a township that lies to the north of Pretoria, and that was where Black Like Me began.
In 2004, Mashaba’s wife Connie, who was also co-founder, took over the business. With the combination of good business sense, excellent sales skills, and the determination to make the business a success, Herman and Connie have made Black Like Me one of the top South African brands of beauty products. Black Like Me has become a huge hit among African women and is now reaching global acclaim.
Mimmi Biggar is the Public Relations and Technical Manageress of Black Like Me. Mimmi has been working for the company for about 17 years. She took some time to give us information on the job of a hair product consultant…
“To work as a beauty product consultant, you will need a matric certificate as well as a job-specific qualification such as a board exam certificate, trade certificate, teachers training certificate, or hairdressing and make up application certificates. A cosmetology certificate would also be a plus. Earnings in this field range between R15 000 and R25 000 per month.”
“People skills are obviously very important in this job. Communication is crucial when dealing with clients and training students. Patience is required when working with students – something that creative people often lack! Impeccable grooming is also an obvious prerequisite for a hair product consultant, as you are expected to be a representative of the brand at all opportunities. If you are promoting a beauty product, you should always look good. Basic computer literacy would be beneficial.”
“Typical activities of a product consultant include training salon workers about the specific product or brand, setting up consumer campaigns, handling media liaison, coordinating photographic shoots, creating write-ups for print media, and conducting presentations when applicable, such as at launches. Product consultants are also often expected to train students at college level, and train future trainers.”
“A typical day in this job usually begins with a training session at the college at 8h30. The consultants then meet with clients to discuss upcoming events. The afternoon is taken up with trips to salons to attend to any difficulties with the product or brand, and meeting with technicians to finalise weekend promotions. Late afternoon involves rushing to the salon to fix up your own hair and prepare for a launch, a cocktail party, entertaining a potential client, or having dinner with an existing client. A quick write-up for a magazine can be done at home if there is a deadline looming, as well as catching up with numerous emails. Getting ready for bed and watching Oprah is a good way to end the day!”
“The pros to this job are that it is perceived to be a glamorous job because you get invited to many glamorous events and you have endless networking opportunities. It involves extensive travel – nationally and internationally – and this allows one to stay abreast of the latest trends. The cons include working long hours, and the need to travel could keep you away from your family for extended periods. This job calls for an immense amount of effort to ensure positive results. Unfortunately consultants are seldom acknowledged for their efforts.”
“Realistic dreams, passion, and hard work are the basic ingredients to success in the job place,” concluded Mimmi.
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