Grabbing every opportunity

One woman has learned that you can't blame your ­circumstances or society for where you find yourself in life and that you should rather fight back and claim your space under the sun.

12 May 2019 | People

“I listened to that inner voice that I had this in-born talent to work with my hands.” Wilna Jones. Managing director I AM

Back in the day it was often hard for women to be heard and seen, but this entrepreneur decided to focus on her inner strength rather than her circumstances to not only find herself, but also to find the courage to become a business woman.
Wilna Jones is a force to be reckoned with. Following her recent move to Namibia, she is now the new managing director of I AM hair and beauty academy in the Grove Mall of Namibia.
“You don’t become the person you are supposed to become overnight,” she says. “I went through seasons, facing many challenges. But you get up after every fall, you learn and you grow, and that is how you become the person you were meant to be.”
Thinking back on hardships she has had to endure, Wilna says she is thankful for the times she fell, because she managed crawl her way back up until she was strong enough to run again. These challenges “form and shape you, and that growth isn’t only needed in the career path you choose, but it helps you in all aspects of life, who you are as a person, a wife, a mother.”

Learning from mistakes
Wilna admits that she has made mistakes that influenced her life, but it was thanks to this that she decided she would grab any and every opportunity life throws her way. “One bad choice can change the course of your life, but you have another choice to make. You can decide to stay on the ground or you can decide to get up,” she says.
And she stood up and fought back. “I listened to my inner voice that I had an in-born talent to work with my hands. This talent wasn’t given to me by man or myself but by the higher calling and I was willing to embrace that.”
In 2006 the South African government had a policy that if you have five years’ experience, you were given a practical test. “I grabbed the opportunity, did the test and passed and that is how I got qualified,” Wilna says proudly.
Shortly after, she opened two of her own businesses.
In this way Wilna found herself and her passion with a pair of scissors and a couloring brush in her hands and now she is making sure that her clients leave the salon with a little more spunk.

Working her way up
She worked her way up in the salon and beauty industry and learned how to work with different hair textures.
“I always told myself I would never be able to work on white people’s hair. Then I realised that I am holding myself back. I am instilling this negativity that doesn’t allow me to move forward and better myself.”
So she decided to take job at a salon where most clients are white and she forced herself to learn. “And you know what, now I know how. I bettered myself by forcing myself and to be open to learn.” Her personal goal this year is to learn how to make dreadlocks. “I would like to wear it myself,” she says.
By 2012, Wilna travelled to America where she was given a look into the beauty industry as a whole – from hair and nails to make-up. “I got international experience and that knowledge is something I still treasure.”
Wilna says she came to Namibia to share her knowledge and her passion. “I don’t want to empower myself but rather empower those who find themselves in the same circumstances I found myself in a few decades ago. I want to inspire and motivate those around me to better themselves and better their lives.”
Her aim in this new position is to plant a seed where the staff can learn from her. “My vision is to empower the employees to develop their skill and passion,” she says. She also has big plans come 2020.
Walking into the salon, clients are warmly greeted and whisked away for a pamper session that leaves them relaxed, ready to take on the world and one step closer to becoming their true self.
So perhaps the adage that a haircut is just as good as a holiday rings true.

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