Unemployment is a massive predicament South Africans face, with 29% of its citizens failing to secure employment. It mostly affects people from poverty stricken backgrounds, university graduates and the youth without secondary education.
24-year-old Ntombikayise Hlakodi has had her share of not being unemployed and that has persuaded her to start a laundry business. She calls herself the “Steam Lady” because her company specializes in ironing. Due to this initiative, her life has changed for the better.
The “Steam Lady” has been running in Pretoria from August 2019 and the progress it has made so far is astonishing for the businesswoman. The laundry services came about following the research she completed in her neighborhood where she asked people what their least favorite chore is.
“I grew up in a household that took pride in teaching their children basic chores which is how I managed to start a career in the laundry trade. My customers have shown me how much they have always needed my services, they see the way I take pride in my work,” explains the tenacious lady.
The majority of feedback indicated that ironing has the highest rate and that gap is what encouraged her to specialize in the line of work she is in. Although it is a business that generates an income, she has always had the skills and positive energy to ironing clothes.
Apart from just ironing clothes, her services also include a set of hangers for those in need of them and she packs clothes for her customers if they request her to do so. She charges a fee of R150 for a basket and R250 for a single item of clothing, the other services mentioned above are not included in the payment but are a token of appreciation from her to the client.
The entrepreneur offers house calls to her clients, people send her their location and she travels to their homes to do the ironing. For safety measures she sends the location to her family and friends with the estimated time she will take at the client’s home. This is to avoid being harmed during her working hours.
“The feedback I have received has taught me to value my work. In as much as it is a lot of work, I still push to get it done. Other clients would sit and watch me work because they find it intriguing to see someone work with so much delicacy,” she says.
Due to some level of dishonesty from certain customers, Hlakodi no longer accepts EFT payments. After ironing for one of her customers who paid her via the banking app, on her way to her next appointment, the money was reversed. She expresses that the incident is a setback for the growth of her business and it means that she travelled to work for free.
In the near future, the remarkable business-woman wishes to have people working in different parts of South Africa, as she wants to make a differences by hiring other unemployed people. She would also like to have a shelter where people can drop off their clothes and return to fetch them once they are ready.
For her to accomplish such, she needs support from everyone that lives around where she is based. If ever you are in no mood to iron or may be in a hurry, contact Ntombikayise on +27 78 009 5146 or +27 60 899 4725.