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A woman answers the phone at Amazi

AMAZI: Unlocking New Jobs for Women in the Beauty Industry

Project Overview

More than half of young adults in South Africa do not have the opportunity or skills to access employment opportunities, and women are particularly vulnerable. Most members of the population are in semi/unskilled, low-paying jobs that do not offer stability. The South African beauty sector is growing, opening up many jobs, but the cost of training a woman with no technical beauty accreditation and absorbing her into a business is high. As a result, the beauty industry has remained closed to many young, unemployed women.

AMAZI is a nail and beauty brand founded on the desire to educate often undervalued women so they can earn a living, create savings, and flourish in careers as nail technicians. Its innovative business model not only trains marginalized women, but then guides, supports, and develops them while they grow a career in one of the commercial AMAZI Nail and Beauty Bars.

How it helps

Started by three young entrepreneurs with a passion to transform the lives of women in South Africa, AMAZI is on a mission to nurture untapped potential and use the art of beauty as a catalyst for social change. To do that, the AMAZI brand currently consists of a nonprofit arm — the AMAZI Academy — and the for-profit AMAZI Beauty Bars.

The women supported by the AMAZI Academy — many whom are mothers — are from disadvantaged communities and would not otherwise have access to the beauty industry. Other beauty training institutions often require a Grade 12 certification as a minimum requirement, as well as high upfront tuition costs. At AMAZI Academy, the four-month program is provided at no-cost and equips women with training and marketable skills they can use throughout their career.

Once training is completed, AMAZI students begin their careers at one of five South African stores. They have ongoing access to mentors who ensure they continue to build their skills and self-worth while working in a beauty business. AMAZI Beauty only employs trainees from the AMAZI Academy, and offers affordable, quality beauty services in areas where demand is high and skilled technicians are needed. The trainees receive a competitive starting salary, with the potential to grow their earnings by 10 times within five years. The program has trained 141 women since inception and 89 percent have been placed in the world of work, allowing them to be economically active. This is beauty on a mission.

Foundation Project Lead