Russian-born South Africa-based entrepreneur Jennifer Glodnick knows what it’s like to fight for your business. After moving to South Africa at the age of 22 and starting a successful salon, Glodnick found herself in an abusive relationship with a man who tried to take away everything she had worked for. After a lengthy legal battle Glodnick finally got her independence back and started a new salon, Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre. Today she runs a successful salon business, she’s been named one of Forbes Magazines 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs in Africa and works to help train women in the business, so they too can find their own financial freedom.
Glodnick’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
When I was 19 I went to the USA and I was working for two entrepreneurs as a part of a student exchange program, that’s when I knew I didn’t want to work for anyone else ever again. And I never did. I got my Masters degree at the age of 21 and came to South Africa from Russia at the age of 22. However, I ended up in a very toxic and abusive relationship where I knew I had to do something on my own to survive.
So I started my own salon, which ended up becoming very successful, until my husband at the time tried to steal my business from me and have me deported back to Russia. He chased me away from my own company, and had all my assets frozen. He even hired people to harass me. Eventually I managed to obtain a divorce and get protection orders against him. I was finally free from this relationship and I set up a new salon, Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre, which I’ve been happily running ever since.
Success for me is the way to turn your own dreams into reality. Success determines the amount of lives you manage to change. We are running a weight loss project entirely sponsored by me to help people to regain their confidence and we have found so many people with success stories to tell – the woman who ended up in a terrible car crash, and had to learn how to walk again. The single mother who raises her kids on her own. The mom whose body changed after her pregnancy and couldn’t get back in shape no matter what has she tried. All of their successes are our successes.
“Just keep trying and failing, trying and succeeding and you can make it happen.”
– Jennifer Glodnick, Founder of Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre
Forbes Magazine selected me as one of their 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs on the African continent and put me on the cover of Forbes at the age of 29. This is a big success for me. I was also selected by the South African Government as an Ambassador by a National Development Plan 2030 to boost economic development. The British Government has also approached me with an idea to open my Slimming Centres in the UK to help fight obesity there.
Marketing has been a challenge for me, but we have sorted it all out. Another big challenge is to work with people, it’s extremely difficult to work in the service industry. You have to see the line between a customer and a client and I strongly believe that every person is a customer, but not every customer is a client. At the beginning of my career, knowledge was a problem, you have to learn a lot, read a lot, knowledge is the key. Just keep trying and failing, trying and succeeding and you can make it happen.
Oprah is one of the people I admire most as she made it work regardless of her background, regardless of her skin color. Every time I had to knock on the door, the door was closed. I am a big fan of Richard Branson (I was a part of his Center of Entrepreneurs and even got to a platinum centre of excellence). Elon Mask who is an entrepreneur is also one of my favorites. I do admire people who made it big as I know how hard it is to run the business where you have 15 people working with you and those guys have thousands working with them.