Businesswomen of the Week
Businesswoman, empowerment advocate, master educator, nail artist to the stars – Mel Viljoen is the whole package and the real deal.
Although women have always displayed unique leadership characteristics, regardless of the roles in which they find themselves, women leadership in business has only gained traction over the past few decades.
The rise of women in corporate roles has been well-documented, with a number of shining examples of how women are taking over boardrooms across the globe, confidently and successfully. Another area of business that women are flourishing in is women-owned enterprises – women are not only creating their own careers and wealth profiles, but helping do the same for other women.
In South Africa, around 34% of companies are women-led or owned. This is according to a survey conducted by Facebook, in partnership with the World Bank and OECD, and although women are still in the minority in this regard, the numbers are encouraging.
Internationally, the number is slightly higher at 37%, according to Harvard Business Review, showing that South Africa is roughly on par with its global counterparts.
What is even more encouraging is women who are using their businesses to help other women own their businesses, and who are employing women in these businesses to build out the stream of growth, development and wealth creation amongst other women.
“Nothing beats that feeling of knowing you are in control of your own destiny, and that you hold in your hands the keys to your own success.”
Melany started the Tammy Taylor Nails brand in South Africa after spotting Tammy Taylor herself on YouTube while searching for nail tutorials.
“What I saw in Tammy, even over the internet, immediately resonated with me, and I knew I had to meet her,” she says. “I booked my flight to the USA, and what I had seen online was confirmed in person – Tammy Taylor and her brand were what I had been looking for.”
After securing the sole distribution rights for Africa and arming herself with extensive training, Melany returned to South Africa to begin launching the brand on a national level.
“The first step was to start my own Tammy Taylor Nails salon,” she explains. “I knew if I wanted to truly understand what our customers are looking for, I had to be on the frontlines of customer service.”
Melany learned the most valuable lesson of her career during this time – that women want to be treated like queens.
“This doesn’t only go for our customers, although excellence in customer service is our ultimate goal,” she says.
“Businesswomen also want to be treated like royalty, and in running my own salon, I saw the opportunity to bring other women into the business, and give them the royal treatment they deserved as business owners.”
The Tammy Taylor Nails South Africa franchise was born, and soon Melany was helping businesswomen all over South Africa open the salons of their dreams.
“Not only are these women business owners in their own right, but they are employing other women, creating jobs in a country where unemployment is rife,” she explains.
“The nail and beauty industry is a fantastic one for women to enter into, whether as business owners or employees. It offers flexible hours, a reliable income and the opportunity to pursue other goals like family and education.”
This is another passion of Melany’s – empowering women through education.
“Through our certified nail technician training, we have empowered countless women with the skills to create their own income streams,” she says.
“Every new technique that a technician learns offers the opportunity to grow their client base, improve their offering, and benefit both themselves and the salon they work in. We are helping give women the confidence to make a name for themselves in their industry.”
The Tammy Taylor Nail Academy in Pretoria is thriving, and Melany plans to open another school in Cape Town soon.
“I want every woman in South Africa to have the opportunity to experience the magic that is Tammy Taylor Nails, whether as a salon owner, a nail technician or beauty therapist, or as a client,” she concludes. “Every woman should be able to feel, and be treated, like a queen.