The Sweet Smell Of Success

Mirriam Kgole (26), founder of Liomi Perfume, turned her love for fragrances into a career and thriving business.

Fundiswa Nkwanyana

At 16, I started working as a sales assistant for fragrance retailer Red Square. My job was to increase sales and help customers find their preferred fragrance. I enjoyed this so much that within six months, sales increased by 100%. This motivated me to learn more about fragrances. I worked in the retail market until I graduated from Rosebank College with a diploma in public relations in 2013. I left the sector to pursue the career I studied towards.

I hated working as a public relations officer for a government institution. Eight months into my job, I became depressed from sitting in the office the whole day. I missed the thrill of selling fragrances, and wished for an exciting career. My husband Ownway Kanju noticed that I was sinking into depression. He encouraged me to quit my job and figure out what I wanted to do. I realised then that fragrances were my first love, and looked for career opportunities in this space. But, growth opportunities were limited. This made being a fragrance reseller non-profitable. So, I decided to carve my own path.

I wanted to be an entrepreneur and resell black-owned fragrances. There were none in the industry, and I saw this as an opportunity. I used the knowledge I gained while working at various fragrance stores to start a perfume business. I was fortunate enough to meet people who were willing to share their knowledge and expertise. They taught me where to source ingredients

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