CEO: The Gold Bar, Sensational Hair Salon, Designer Prints, Specialised Accounting, Ballito Seafood
Sholain Perumal is a CEO by trade and philanthropist by heart. Her journey began with The Gold Bar, a gold recycling company, known as a company with a heart. With five stores across the country, the company purchases unwanted gold jewellery from the public and recycles it into gold bars that reinvigorate the economy.
Sholain owns two hair salons which are located in Umhlanga Rocks on Chartwell Drive and in Cornubia Mall. Under the banner of “Sensational Hair, Nails, and Beauty,” these salons are your ‘ultimate happy place’. The salons offer hair, nails and beauty treatments under one roof and aim to make you feel at home. “It’s just a place to destress and get away from the stresses of the world,”
Her entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t stop there. Designer Prints, a graphic design and print company based in Mount Edgecombe, and Specialized Accounting, an accounting and taxation company, highlight her versatility as an entrepreneur. Sholain’s passion for diversification led her to launch Ballito Seafoods in Odyssey Mall.
However, her proudest creation is The Now You Can Foundation which supports a variety of initiatives, from providing grocery hampers, to motivational talks in schools, and care packs for abused women and children.
Sholain’s journey to success began with humble roots. After matriculating without the funds to pursue further education, she started working as a cashier in a supermarket. Sholain ensured that every job she had was a steppingstone that would eventually bring her to this point in her career.
“It’s been a long, tough road to be where I am,” said Sholain. “But with determination and a never give up attitude, hard work and persistence. I finally achieved where I want to be. I just never gave up on my dreams and I wanted to make sure I achieved what I set out to achieve.”
Being a woman in the male-dominated industry of gold recycling presented Sholain with many challenges. “I felt like I had to prove myself, and that’s exactly what I did,” she reflects. “I turned the negativity directed at me as a woman, into building blocks, creating a solid foundation for my businesses and personal growth.”
Running multiple businesses has its unique set of challenges, from managing cash flow to handling staff issues. The journey has been punctuated by external hurdles like riots, floods, and the global pandemic. Sholain’s invaluable lesson is that one is not born with all the answers; adaptation and constant learning are essential to survival. “In order to survive, you have to continuously be learning and adapting to the new circumstances and the new challenges thrown at you every single day. And you have to work through it,” she says.
Much of her motivation has come from the fact that she is a strong supporter of women’s equality and empowerment. In addition, says Sholain, ‘I’ve always been somewhat rebellious growing up in the sense that I wanted to prove that I could do what people said I couldn’t, and I wanted to break societal norms. I’ve come from a humble background and an Indian community. We had set rules and I was determined to break those norms, and that’s exactly what I did.”
Inspired by mentors
However, said Sholain she has been very blessed to have mentors along the way that have guided her. As such she has been able to use her passion for empowerment and change to motivate herself and push through despite all the challenges she faced.
Wayne Duncan, her previous employer, played a pivotal role in Sholain’s journey. He saw potential in her and often pushed her beyond her limits. “He made me cry more than once,” Sholain chuckles. “But every lesson he taught me is still instilled in me. It’s those life lessons that continue to guide my teaching and influence my mentorship of others.”
She added that her parents have been an instrumental part of who she is. The values that they instilled in her as she was growing up have pushed her to where she is and enabled her to conduct business the way she does. “I have to give them credit for the woman that I am today, without them, I probably might not be here,” she said.
Her goals for the future are to build an empire and leave a legacy of empowerment. So basically, says Sholain, she wants to create more leaders. Through her businesses people are offered employment and an opportunity to learn from her, to study, and to grow within the organisation.
Sholain believes that she can change the world with one act of kindness at a time. That, she says, will just snowball into an effect where everybody’s making one small difference in the world and that combined together will make a bigger change.
Anything is achievable
In advising young women, Sholain has simple but powerful words: “Don’t overthink it. You’ll never have all your ducks in a row.” She adds, “The biggest step is the first step you take and that’s making the decision to start and after that everything flows. But you may not get it right the first time.” She emphasizes that, “Failure is not the end but an opportunity to begin anew.” With determination and focus, anything is achievable.
Despite her hectic life, Sholain recognises the importance of balance and the need to disconnect from the demands of her businesses. She loves travel and a yearly international trip serves as her much needed “me time” making all the hard work throughout the year worthwhile.
Sholain’s involvement in the KZN Top Business Women is a source of pride for her. It not only provides exposure for her businesses but also aligns with her mission of women supporting each other. The initiative offers a platform for like-minded women to connect, share experiences, and motivate one another to overcome challenges and reach new heights.