Mpoomy Ledwaba was young and broke when she planned her own business after deciding to drop out of college. She has no money, no experience, and the people around her did not believe in her. Amidst all the challenges, she fought for her dreams and finally opened Aneno Nail & Coffee Bar which has always been jam-packed with women since its launching.
At age 12, Mpoomy started working for her dad. At 16-years old, she worked at a restaurant while doing promotions throughout varsity. She was 21-years old when she landed her first corporate job as a banker at Investec. By then, she was also a second-year student of Accountancy at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.
Initially, Mpoomy thought she’d love accounting because she was good at it and it felt like a natural move. But as time goes by, she realized it was unfulfilling for her. So first, she quit her job. Second, she left the university in the middle of her finance exam and never went back.
“I didn’t diagnose it as depression but now because I understand what depression is, I know it could have been that,” she told Forbes Africa.
It was a brave move for a young woman who did not have any money nor experience. What makes it worse is that her parents were not impressed by her decision, too. Her father refused to send her money anymore and her mother also declined when she tried to borrow money to do a nail course.
“I spent my days crying and praying. It was a tough time. I knew I had made the right decision but everyone and everything around me tried to break me,” Mpoomy said.
Eventually, Mpoomy found a job at a modeling agency doing a billboard and TV advert where she was paid R22,000, or over $1,550 USD. She invested her earnings in a cleaning business, inspired by her father’s cleaning company. For a year, it boomed but she got swamped up by orders that it became overly demanding for her. She then learned that “you can’t start a business in something you don’t know or you are not passionate about.”
Brenden Praise Ledwaba, South African Idols finalist and recording artist, who is then her boyfriend and now husband, was the one who was there with her and supported her no matter what. After their marriage, which didn’t come cheap, Brenden gave her money to go to nail school. It wasn’t easy for them as newlyweds; they had financial problems along the way, but they still made it.
By the time Mpoomy finished her studies and was ready to get a working experience, no one hired her. But she found a way by herself and she created a mobile salon that turned out successfully. Finally, with the help of a mentor, she opened Aneno Nail & Coffee Bar a year ago.
Today, Mpoomy has a team of five people in her own nail salon based in Melville, Johannesburg. Some of her first customers were friends and family but now African celebrities such as Mapaseka Koetle-Nyokong, Mmatema Moremi, Jessica Nkosi, and Thickleeyonce are her frequent clients.
In the near future, the ever-enthusiastic businesswoman sees Aneno having franchises all over South Africa and being a household brand. After all, she believes that “God is the one who makes things happen.”