DR LUNGILE MHLONGO (commonly known as Dr Lu) holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) as well a diploma in aesthetic medicine. She opened a general practice servicing the community of Stanger in 2017. She then went on to establish Numa Medical Aesthetics, a skincare and cosmetic practice using the most up-to-date technologies which operates in uMhlanga Ridge. Dr Lu also has a weekly slot on Gagasi FM that is all about health and wellness.
DRIVEN SOLELY BY PASSION
On her expanding business offering Dr Lu says, “We basically concentrate on non-surgical cosmetic medicine to help people feel good, look good and present themselves better. I have also recently launched my own skin care products –Numa Skin.”
“My business is driven solely by passion and personal experience. Growing up I didn’t have any skin problems and when I turned 24-25, I started having severe acne. This badly dented my self-esteem and confidence; I felt like people made skin contact before they could hear what I was going to say. This is where my passion for non-surgical cosmetic medicine was born. I found a solution that I thought I should extend to other people and that is how I started. I’m passionate about my work because I understand what the customer wants and how they feel about their skin. It’s not just the physical treatments but we also tap into the emotional and psychological side of our clients.”
BE THE CHANGE
Speaking of what motivates her, Dr Lu says that she has a lot of things that push her ‘like a step ladder’. She said that getting into medicine was motivated by her father, who was very ill and only a few people could help him to become better. One day her father had an attack and as the doctor that was able to help him was away on holiday, this led to her father’s demise. “I was so angry at the doctor, until I realised that he is human, he needs to go on holiday and refresh himself. So, I thought let me be the change I want to see to help counter the shortage of doctors. So that’s how I started the journey.”
Dr Lu comes from a very disadvantaged background. Her dad passed away when she was in Grade 11 and her mother passed away when she was in first year university. This meant that she had no one supporting her while at medical school. “So, I started doing modelling jobs, doing people’s hair to make money to survive. That is how the entrepreneurial spirit was born,” said Dr Lu. “When I offer a service, I get money for it, then I can survive.”
THE BEST THING
Dr Lu has continued to invest back into her business, which has allowed her various initiatives to grow. She added, “I have found my passion. When I talk about my job I just want to smile because the smiles that I see from my clients, are the best thing ever. I wake up in the morning and they make me want to do what I do.”
Dr Lu commented that we cry a lot about the government and the unemployment rate being so high. She said, “I’ve got myself into a position of not being angry with the government. Growing my business enables me to hire as many people as I possibly can, to try and bridge that gap. When launching my skin care brand, we built a warehouse where we manufacture these products thus creating employment for the unemployed. Others are involved in the distribution and logistics of the products.”
Numa Aesthetics now has three branches. Dr Lu has recently opened a new branch in Hyde Park, Johannesburg with a fourth branch opening at the end of November. “I’m hoping to open as many branches as I possibly can, firstly to help with the distribution, offer the best service to my clients and most importantly, to help employ as many young people as we possibly can,” says Dr Lu.
Numa Aesthetics has registered a foundation called Angels are made at Numa. Dr Lu explains, “We go to high schools, mostly the townships and rural areas, and find girls that are struggling with pigmentation and acne. Dr Lu added that unsafe products are being sold online that are not safe for the skin. “But these kids order these things and use these products and end up damaging their skin, so we teach about skin health. We sit down with them and help them with our products and treatments. I also mentor them to present themselves better.”
The most important advice that Dr Lu offers is to be authentic. She explains, “It is very hard to run a business if you are not passionate about what you are doing. Find something that you are passionate about and focus on it instead of focusing on what is happening around you. I have found something that I am passionate about and even on the coldest days of business, I go back to why do I do what I do, and I wake up and try again. We live in a world of social media, where everyone is succeeding in what they do, people are not going to post their failures. Focus on what you are doing, so you can achieve what you are called to do and fulfil your purpose.”
Dr Lu says that she tries to balance her life as far as she can. “I am a mother to a seven-yearold, so I am very busy at home. I am a very family orientated person, and I’m lucky to be blessed with family and friends that believe in what I do and support and push me even when I feel like giving up at some point.”