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Creativity and service is the answer

Provided by Business Partners Ltd, South Africa's leading investor in SMEs

Dima Tsobanopulos is a part owner of D&D Hairdesign. She studied cosmetology at the Palmer Institute in Bologna, Italy and, after completing her studies in Italy, visited her father in Greece for what was meant to be a short holiday.

Says Dima: "My father had accepted a job offer in Thessalonika in Greece and I guess he felt a little lonely because when I arrived, he bought me a hair salon. If you have seen My Fat Greek Wedding you will not be surprised by this. I was fresh out of college with no experience in running a business so I would say that this is when my real apprenticeship began. By the time I arrived in South Africa four years later, I had managed my business and a staff of six.

"Creativity and customer service is the core of our business and contribute to the ultimate outcome, as well as successful long-term customer relationships," adds Dima.

Dima and her husband Dimitri started the first D&D salon in 1988, just three months after their first daughter was born, with a shop in a small shopping centre in a fairly new developing area in the northern suburbs. In October, D&D will celebrate 20 years in business.

They launched their business with a special import from Germany, which "made waves" around the country. "When we came to South Africa, there was a real shortage of qualified hairdressers. This is true, even for today. The answer lies in training young talent. Some will leave and some will stay. Try keep the best. This has always worked well for us."

Without Business Partners, Dima and Dimitri would have had to start on a much smaller scale. Starting off from home was never an option for them. With Business Partners they could create the atmosphere and style they wanted, to launch their business. Her future plans include product development.

Dimitri owns a distribution company called SERI Hair Care which is manufactured in Greece. Dima is visiting the company's laboratories in September and would like to have a very specific new product developed. For further information, call 021 794 1918.

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