Lorraine Tsoanelo Maphala-Phiri – My Story

I am a 31 year old proud mother of two and a wife. A former Miss Zimbabwe 2005/6, boasting one international title (Miss Tourism World 2006 Face of the Net, Tanzania) and third runner up Miss World Talent 2006 Poland. I am a persistent, hardworking and very innovative young lady.

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Getting into the modelling industry was my way of creating a pedestal for my self so my voice could be heard. Coming from a very humble background in a dusty suburb in Nketa 6 in Bulawayo, it has always been my dream to inspire young girls to dare to dream. After my reign as Miss Zimbabwe, I did not want my name to vanish into thin air. I also wanted to be an inspiration to that little girl who believed she did not deserve to reach for her goals, simply because of where she came from. I developed a passion for fashion and beauty during that period.

I noticed a gap in the hair industry in Zimbabwe and after travelling  to many different countries, I introduced the 100% human hair in 2007 as soon as I finished my duties as Miss Zimbabwe. Being very passionate about what I do, I started selling the hair from the boot of my car, with nothing but just a clear vision of making my hair brand a household name in the country.

I sold to business women, influential women politicians and any woman who appreciated quality over quantity …

Real Hair by Lorraine was birthed.

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At Real Hair, we understand the power of branding as well as the importance of marketing. We also believe that as women we buy with our eyes first. We saw it important to customize our packaging and make it appealing to the fashionable woman. Our packaging also comes with free hair care tips, which assists our clients to take good care of the hair, in order for it to last longer. Specialising in 100% raw, virgin hair as well as processed human hair, we travel wide and far to get the best hair for our customers. Our range of products include full lace wig, lace closures, Swiss lace closures, Brazillian hair, Peruvian hair, Mongolian hair as well as Indian hair.

As a young girl, I always wanted to be a business woman although I did not know what type of business I would venture into. After travelling to Tanzania to represent my country at Miss Tourism World, I met a girl from Angola also representing her country and she had the most amazing hair I had ever seen. It blended very well with our African hair and I knew right away that was what I wanted to do. I came back home, did some research and indeed confirmed that nobody knew about that specific hair.

I first bought the hair for myself and everyone liked it. I then started ordering for my friends and their friends. I was 22 years old then and had no experience on how to run a business. I started reading the biographies of women who have made it. I read books on entrepreneurship, attended business seminars and gained a lot of knowledge, which I believe has brought me this far.

Real Hair has grown from being sold from the boot of a car to launching our store at an upmarket shopping centre in Bulawayo. Our authentic human hair is supplied to women across Southern Africa, with our biggest clients in Germany and Australia.

I was inspired by the lack of good hair in our country and the desire to inspire young girls who dream to be successful in any field of their choice. My company name has been there since the inception of the business in 2007 and my biggest highlight has been seeing the growth of the business, customized packaging, launching our first store and having close to three thousand followers on Facebook.

Starting a business with absolutely no knowledge of running a business can be a challenge. Having to learn it the hard way and falling several times was one of my biggest challenges. Trying to convince an African woman with a strong African background to wear hair that is said to belong to someone has been my greatest challenge.

Human hair products have brought so much confusion because of its origin, quality, methods used to process and many more. These products bring in a lot of confusion because they come from all corners of the globe, China and India being the biggest hair exporters.

We educate our customers about these products and believe our customers must have a clear understanding and know what they are buying as the hair does not come cheap. When purchasing our hair products customers must look at the quality of our hair.
DJ ZInhle has a huge following in Zimbawe especially in Bulawayo and I follow her on Instagram. I totally love her business sense and love how she inspires other women through Moments by Dj Zinhle. I am also a lover of music and her hit single, My Name Is, got me hooked to this powerful amazing sister.

Real Hair By Lorraine aspires to be the number one hair wholesaler in Southern Africa, offering the best quality hair at reasonable prices. Having an upmarket hair salon specializing in braiding and weaving is also on the cards and hopefully franchising it too.

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The three most important tips I can give aspiring entrepreneurs are:

1) TRY: The secret word to success is TRY!!! That is the first step to success.
2)Education: Self develpment is the best thing one can ever do for themselves and their business. Continuously educate yourself in your chosen field.
3)Never be content in the same position, always strive to do better that yesterday. Comfort zone is a very dangerous position for any business person to be in.

Currently I would not do anything differently, my experiences and lessons have moulded me to be were I am and what I am now.
sicial media has been our greatest marketing tool, we currently have close to 3000 followers on Facebook and have managed to reach out to customers as far as Germany, Australia and Canada through social media. Our customer care is our biggest marketing tool, it speaks for its self, hence getting us more customers.

Im greatly inspired by Basetsana Khumalo because I see a lot of my self in her in terms of what she stands for and her love for education. She has proved that as a woman you can be beautiful, hardworking and educated.

Women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe have been supported but a lot still needs to be done to accommodate them. As women uplift themselves, we must not forget the role of men in our lives and they need to support our vision and the role we play in uplifting our economy.

Contact Us on :+263-9-60930 or +263712572860, like our Facebook  page or follow us on Instagram or visit us at Shop 5 Zonkizizwe Complex Bradfield Bulawayo,Zimbabwe.

Real Hair By Lorraine promises to offer the best quality hair and customer care service and we ship worldwide via DHL.

11 Comments, RSS

  1. marufu.sandra0@gmail.com'

    SANDRA MARUFU October 15, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

    Well done home girl ,proud of you and iam inspired

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