Today is International Women’s Day, and we're celebrating the remarkable journey of salon owner and Fresha Partner Nejat Salih, and discovering how she is using Fresha’s free appointment scheduling software to safeguard her income.

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Nejat Salih is the proud co-owner of Mazal Beauty & Wellness in Brixton, and within a year of opening her salon she was enjoying a steady stream of clients. Sounds like a familiar story, but just a few years ago this would have seemed like an impossible dream, and this proud mum and female entrepreneur could never have imagined how far she would come.

Nejat grew up under a strict dictatorship in a country where young people were made to serve in the army as soon as they turned 18. So in 2009 aged just 14, Nejat found herself on a treacherous journey from her home in Eritrea to seek protection in a refugee camp in Sudan. 

A story of determination to find a better life

Unfortunately, Nejat fell prey to people smugglers but managed to escape to Israel where she endured further hardship and had to endure harsh living conditions. Married at 17, and divorced with a baby by 21, Nejat became determined to improve their living conditions. However, she realised the only way to thrive was to leave her son with his father while she embarked on another difficult journey through Africa and Europe to reach the UK, where she was able to claim asylum. On arrival and after months of homelessness, Nejat eventually managed to secure accommodation in a London hostel, and then a job for a major beauty company where her popularity with clients eventually gave her the confidence and motivation to become self-employed.

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“Starting out [in business], it was hard to make people take me seriously, signing contracts, etc. I had to do extra work and pay attention to the way I presented myself. It’s not easy because when you’re young and female, you must work really hard to prove yourself, and choose what you're passionate about. Believing in yourself is not easy at the beginning but eventually, it happens.”

Nejat’s hard work and determination paid off when she was finally reunited with her son, and now the two are living happily together in London. “As a single mum, working for myself gives me the opportunity to manage my own calendar and fit my work and personal life together. I can be so tired or having a bad day, but when a client comes in it changes my mood. I like this transformation, and seeing [the clients] happy.”

As a busy working mum, Nejat finds Fresha the perfect platform to make the day-to-day running of her salon easier, and it also provides income protection – vital for any small salon or spa business owner. “I like Fresha, as I have the option to get my clients to confirm their card details, and if they change their mind about what they want when they come in, we can easily change their service and price. So it’s good [their treatment is] confirmed, but they don’t have to pay for it all in advance.”

Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day

Nejat’s amazing story is truly awe-inspiring, and with International Women’s Day celebrating women all around the world, Nejat proves that with passion, determination, and tenacity, anything is possible. Now, with a successful salon treating clients to nail and beauty treatments, Mazal Beauty & Wellness have some exciting plans to celebrate the day and inspire other women with their success story. "We gather in the community, and we bring people together to read poems, and sing. We bring in female DJs, talk, and have a party.”

To find out more about International Women’s Day and how you can get involved, visit the International Women’s Day website here.

For more information or to book an appointment with Nejat, click here.

Why not share your story of inspiration?

If you have a great story to tell that will inspire others, we’re keen to hear from, so why not get in touch and you could be featured in a future blog? Email us at hello@fresha.com.

Join Nejat and thousands of other ambitious and successful businesswomen using Fresha to manage their businesses by discovering our free appointment scheduling software here.