For someone who is an uncontrollably obsessed with hair as I am with pop culture, Ego Iwegbu is an understandable woman crush to have.
Like many of the world’s most celebrated individuals, the entrepreneur turned her passion for her into a lucrative business that - at some point - brought in a collective annual turnover of £640,000.
In the latest issue of Destiny Magazine - where she shares the cover with business partners Azania Mosaka and Linda Jangulo - Iwegbu shares that she started a nail salon in the UK in 1999 and later expanded to six business.
She later had to close them in 2005 due to cashflow problems and that hit her hard.
“I spent days crying under my duvet, asking myself how it happened. Had I not worked hard enough? Was I not deserving? Looking back, I wouldn’t have said “yes” to opening salons in Birmingham and Manchester. There was no need to spread myself so thinly.”
Her next high point came shortly after this low when, in 2006, various huge brands reached out to her to collaborate in the same way she did with Topshop back when she launched her first nail bar in 1999.
She turned the opportunities into a consulting business and dubbed it “Miss Salon.”
Fast forward to 2010 when she and her then-hubby moved to South Africa with their children for an initially short-term work opportunity of his.
Her career as a consultant continued to flourish and as she fell in love with SA, her husband unfortunately fell in love with another woman.
She stayed, found a salon that needed her help and the owners later decided to sell her the business. She was initially reluctant to get back into the actual driving seat based on that experience she had in 2005 but she eventually decided to do it and brought on board.
They quickly gained a large celebrity customer base, boasting the likes of Minnie Dlamini, Terry Pheto and DJ Zinhle. Mosaka was among these celebrity clients and after going through her highly publicized divorce she was craving a major life change. She had already been looking at going into the hair and beauty industry and during a discussion with Jangulo, the realization hit her.
Iwegbu grilled Mosaka after hearing about her interest in joining their business.
“In our third meeting, I said to her: “apparently you’re a celebrity. What do you want with a salon? Do you know what we do, move people’s shoes? Are you prepared to do that? Are you prepared to be a receptionist and deal with the worst client attitudes you’ve ever experienced?”
Mosaka survived and passed and went on to join the Miss Salon team, later opening a Pankhurst location in which she and Iwegbu are equal partners.
Now that they have three locations, as much as they are in business together, each lady has her own location to manage.
Iwegbu however is more hands on with the mineral make up range developed by her sister and initially distributed by their salons. MSLONDON Mineral Cosmetics is now stocked in Woolworths, Santon City and Mall of Africa.
An incomparable business acumen honed by learning hard lessons, fueled by a passion for hair and make-up? It is not hard to see why I nominate Ego Iwegbu for ZAlebs woman crush this week.
She is who I want to be when I grow up!
Main image credit: instagram.com/egoiwegbu