Damaged hair inspires successful business

The Miss L- Embrace My Roots range has nine products.

The Miss L- Embrace My Roots range has nine products.

Published Jul 18, 2023


After a year of selling her products mainly via social media, an Elsies River single mother’s start-up company, built following a bad hair experience, has made it onto the inventory list of a national hair retail store.

After her hair got badly damaged from bleaching and fell out in batches, 33-year-old Leshme De Bruyn, owner of Miss L – Embrace My Roots, went to her mother’s medicine cabinet and mixed a few oils together, which would form the foundation of her future entrepreneurial success.

“Initially, I thought it would be a side business.

“I started by making about five bottles of hair growth oil, distributed to friends and family, and the feedback I received was positive.

“Now I have nine products – a hair growth oil, hair treatment, serum, beard oil, 2-in-1 beard wash, anti-hair loss tonic, shampoo, conditioner, and in June I added a hairline booster,” De Bruyn said.

In May this year, she celebrated one year of being in business after losing her job as an admin clerk.

“Last month, a well-known cosmetic company, Cosmetic Connection, with branches across the country as well as online, contacted me to stock some of my products, which are now available on their website.

“A lady sent me a WhatsApp message asking would if I be interested in them stocking my products.

“I’m thinking, I used to buy my Auntie Jackie products there, this lady must be lying. Why would they contact me?

“But a day or two after that, she asked if I considered.

“She emailed me, told me to send an invoice, paid, and I sent the stock to their head office.”

De Bruyn has now also enrolled in a business management course and is in the process of expanding her business and recruiting sales agents.

“It’s hard work, but it can be done. You just have to be consistent.

“I market my business every day. It’s the first thing I do in the morning.

“My dream is to have my own Miss L store and have my products on the shelves of more retail stores.

“I am excited and proud of how far I’ve come.

“Coming from this area, with a lot of gangsterism, people may think your life ends just here, but in my case, I am proving the world wrong.

“I am from Elsies River. It doesn’t matter where you come from. It is your mindset,” she said.

Cosmetic Connections’ Henze de Wet said they wanted to provide De Bruyn with a platform to showcase her products.

“We have a lot of customers and feature 6 500 items.

“We do a lot of research on brands not known in the market.

“Normally, if a customer is set on a brand, they don’t shift, but because things have become so expensive, people are looking for alternatives to work within their budget.

“They would try a substitute product for their hair care.

“We have 67 stores across the country, but for a range to be listed, we first test it online to see how many people buy,” De Wet said.

He added that they had different marketing strategies to assist brands with getting their product into the hands of customers.

Miss L – Embrace My Roots products use natural ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil and aloe vera and have not been checked by a regulating authority, but De Bruyn said she has reached out to the South African Bureau of Standards for a quote to start the approval process.

Her hair products are available through her social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram: Miss L - Embrace My Roots or her website: www.misslembracemyroots.co.za

Cape Times