A Vital Entrepreneurial Life

Prana Vital Life offers women the opportunity to become entrepreneurs through direct selling of specialist skin and beauty products.

A Vital Entrepreneurial Life

Vital Stats:

  • Company: Prana Vital Life
  • Founder: Debbie Wolfendale
  • Est: 2011
  • Contact: +27 (0)11 463 9912
  • Visit: pranaproducts.co.za

Investment Capital

  • Initial capital: €14 800 for Dermascan equipment (approx. R160 000)
  • Return on investment: Six to nine months depending on network size
  • Hotspots for development: Nationwide

About the franchisor

Wolfendale’s career began in the retail space; lecturing at the Clarins Beauty Institute in Durban; then joining Clarins at head office, working her way up to national training manager and then MD.

Introduced to Beaute Pacifique, a renowned Scandanavian derma-ceutical brand, and visiting Denmark to see the brand’s origin, doctors and scientists, Wolfendale spotted her opportunity to start her own business with her partners using patented skin scanning technology.

”The Dermascan uses ultrasound technology to view under the skin surface, which then allows for tailor-made product recommendations for maximum skin rejuvenation.

It’s effectiveness really appealed to me.

”I chose a direct selling model because the retail industry isn’t a level playing field as it’s dominated by bigger groups, and direct selling is proven to be successful worldwide. I also wanted to empower women in entrepreneurship. The catalyst was understanding Beaute Pacifique’s philosophy of helping people with sick skin, not just beauty. I was sold.”

Prana Vital Life and entrepreneurs

Launched in 2011, Prana Vital Life has 24 skin, hair and make-up agents countrywide. Skin agents own the Dermascan machine and are highly trained in the ultrasound technology and how to utilise it in marketing and tracking skin healing.

“Prana is more than direct selling, agents learn how to run and grow their own business in all aspects. Provided they meet the necessary criteria, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) may provide funding for their Dermascan.

The ideal entrepreneur

Prana Vital Life agents need to have background in wellness, skin therapy or beauty as Beaute Pacifique products are dermaceutical. They need a passion for skin restoration, make-up and hair products. An ideal agent has access to higher LSM networks and can harness them for sales.

Benefits of the model

Prana Vital Life is ideal for lifestyle entrepreneurs. “Agents can control their time and level of commitment,” says Wolfendale.

“Agents find they do their best sales working events a couple of Saturdays a month, but there’s lots of time in the week for family commitments. They also have repeat customers every three to four months as the business is about relationships, not a once-off transaction.”

Agents are not assigned territories, being entirely network-based. A Cape Town agent could have a Durban planner, for example. While agents are given targets and required to give three month projections, the level of income is dependent on level of engagement and size of the agent’s network.

How Prana Vital Life assists agents:

  • Selected agents meet Wolfendale for full orientation, psychographic assessment, network demographic analysis, and personal level of knowledge and skills gaps requiring training
  • Subject experts are brought in during the year as part of the Prana Flow business programme. They give workshops on products, finance, communication and sales
  • New agents are mentored and assisted  for the first few months
  • Bi-annual conferences provide training and networking opportunities
  • Prana handles marketing, PR, stock logistics and operations. Much lead generation for events happens at HO level too.

Income model

Using the traditional direct-selling model, the agent is the retailer with margins as high as 40%. Planners are the ground force and receive a portion of the agent’s margin.

A planner isn’t required to purchase a Dermascan but may become an agent once they’ve built up a customer base to finance a scanner.”

Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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