Entrepreneurs in London: Ensur

Entrepreneurs in London: Ensure you have a very unique selling point

South African co-owners of The Magnolia Room give some important advice on starting up in London

Entrepreneurs in London: Ensur

Elaine Smith and Sonya da Silva met in London in 2006. Both qualified beauty therapists who studied in Stellenbosch, they later decided to open a business together. We asked them how they’ve kept their start-up running in a saturated market.

What made you decide to open The Magnolia Room?

After working for someone else for four and a half years, we decided that it was time for a change. We wanted to progress our careers and thought that the next logical step would be to have a salon of our own. We knew from working together for such a long time that we have a similar work ethic but opposite strengths and weaknesses. So far that has stood us in good stead.

Are your clients predominantly from the UK or South Africa?

Although we have a large South African client base, the majority of our clients are from the UK.

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What advice can you offer to South African entrepreneurs looking to start up in the UK?

The most valuable tip we can give is to do as much research as possible. The rules and regulations are a lot more stringent than in SA.

Make sure you have a very unique selling point as the UK market is a lot more discerning. Due to oversaturation in most markets, UK consumers have a lot more options so if you are not offering something special there are many more places where they can go and spend their hard earned money.

Make use of friends and family wherever possible for their skill sets and knowledge as well as advice and support.


What do you miss most about home?

We miss friends and family, the sunshine, gem squash — and cling peaches!

The Magnolia Room is at 32 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW151JP. Tel : 0208 785 1891. Email : info@themagnoliaroom.co.uk