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Bleu Scissor: Sisters fulfil childhood dream

Trevlyn and Leona Shunmugam are the proud owners of a Cape Town-based salon, Bleu Scissor. The sisters, originally from Durban, have been running the salon for 5 years. They shared their story with type4girl.

The Bleu Scissor start-up story

Bleu Scissor is a dream the sisters never thought they could achieve as two Indian women from a very small and poor community in Durban. They say “if you want something you never had, you must do something you have never done“. That is exactly what they did. Through the salon, they intended to make a difference in their community and design and build themselves and future generations a better life. They relive how they were told that they would not make it in life. “But there is something about a person telling you that you cannot do something that lights the competitive fire in you which drives you to take risks that opens you up to new opportunities,” the sisters express.

The pair started the business in a rented back room with their last pay cheques (R2 900) from previous jobs. While the women are proud of how far they’ve come, their journey is only beginning. “Yes, we are now in a place that can be seen with our brand big and bold for the public, but we still continue to build our dream and every person who journeyed along, our staff, clients and investors are all a part of a dream that is bigger than all of us and to be a blessing in the future.”

On challenges

The hardest and most recent challenge they have faced is the death of their mother. She was brutally murdered in their home in Durban. It was very sudden and something they naturally weren’t prepared for. From there on out it was hard to cope at work or even adjust to normal life in their new reality where their biggest fan, their mother, was no longer around to see them pursue their dream. Like loving mothers do, she supported their dream from the onset and was extremely proud of their accomplishments. “Something this harsh can’t just be dealt with or forgotten. But by God’s grace we have been able to rise above tough and difficult circumstances. Our motherโ€™s prayers are still protecting us. God is the only reason we have made it this far,” they added.

Entrepreneurship and industry misconceptions

The biggest misconception about entrepreneurship is that women are not cut out for business. They go on to recount one of their experiences of sexism. “We had an incident with a male entrepreneur who at first seemed genuine about helping us but he was [actually] a narcissist who tried to take advantage of us and grew jealous with the independence we have [sic] without a male partner.”

The biggest misconception in our industry is people thinking hairdressing is a fall-back industry for those who did not achieve good grades in school. ‘People think hairdressing is an easy craft anyone can do. This is untrue because people in our profession can also study just as hard and work just as hard.[paraphrased] The sisters also express that they find their prices often being questioned. They believe, rightfully so, that hairdressing is a valued craft and they deserve as much respect as the next service provider.

Who is your target market?

We serve any and everyone who walks into our salon, young or old, male or female. Our motto is to serve the everyday ordinary person.

The biggest lesson they learnt

After founding Bleu Scissor, the pair had to learn how to be patient. To be patient in and for the next step, the new goal or the new hire. “Anything new takes time to grow and over a period of time it will start to blossom.”

Along the journey came other things we also had [to] learn like consistency, diligence, keeping yourself accountable and persevering even if we fail along the way. Because failing is okay. It is a steppingstone to a successful ending and a reminder to not stop fighting for the daily goals which lead to the dream being built.

Bleu Scissor founders Trevlyn Shunmugam and Leona Shunmugam

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