The year 2017 will go down in history as one of the worst for business in the second capital Francistown. Following the meltdown and eventual closure ofTati Nickel Mine, numerous businesses shut-up shop.
Others relocated to Gaborone as the erosion of the purchasing power of residents began to hit hard. Only the very brave dared set up a business in a city on its knees. However, that is exactly what Francistowner Gao Thalisa Butale did.
Against the advice of most of her friends and family, she decided to open a Beauty Spa in the Ghetto.
“People were like, ‘A Beauty Spa in Francistown? You must be out of your mind!’” she recalls with a chuckle. Convinced that there was a place for her business in a city she loved, Thalisa Beauty Spa was opened at Adansonia Hotel in 2017.
Registered in 2014, the enterprise originally started operations in Gaborone at Executive Closets in Phase VI(now Adansonia Hotel).
Butale, who doubled up as the hotel’s Manager, was then transferred to Francistown to manage the flagship hotel in the city.
“There was no other way. I had to move the business to Francistown,” she explains matter-of-factly. Her passion since she was a young girl, Butale enrolled for a Beauty and Therapy course at ShannazHerbal Institute to prepare her for the highly volatile industry.
“Although beauty and therapy has always been my passion, when I started it was just for fun. I never thought I’d open a business but now here we are!”
She is quick to admit that relocating to Francistown was not easy and the business encountered challenges early on.
Indeed, three months in and she was forced to halt the venture.
“I had a very small space and that was not what I had envisioned,” she said.
Determined this would not be the end, Butale sought out a different location.
“I decided to renovate my house in Area A and turn it into a space that would be my dream Beaty Spa. I had to be patient to ensure that what I got was exactly what I wanted!”
With the help of professionals, the young business lady turned her home into what is today one of Francistown’s trendiest Beauty Spas and chilling spots.
Thalisa Beauty Spa was officially re-opened by the former City Mayor, Sylvia Muzila in October last year and has received rave reviews from clients and the city leadership.
“My Spa is more than just a place of beauty. It is a lifestyle and the people who have come here always express the admiration for what we’ve done with the place. The ambience here doesn’t compare to anywhere else.We also have very good products with an amazing set-up,” she says proudly.
So strikingly beautiful is the joint that according to Butale, an old Chinese couple likened it to a similar Spa they visited in Thailand.
“It is an exotic place for clients looking for more than just beauty treatment,” she reiterates.
With a staff compliment of five, the enterprise offers professional beauty treatments, massages, eyebrow shaping, eyelash extensions, facial treatments, waxing, make-up, skin care and a lot more.
“We also do bridal make-up and host events like graduations and birthday parties,” she continued, adding they can only accommodate 50 people per event.
The venue also offers swimming lessons for both children and adults.
“We offer free snacks for kids and recently hired a professional to take over the swimming lessons,” she revealed. It has been a busy few months for Butale as she dabbles between her managerial position at the hotel and overseeing her beauty spa.
“I’ve been a manager at Adansonia for over 10 years and I’ve learnt to multi-task. It is not easy but when you do something you love, you’ll always find time to make it work!” she declares with a smile that reaches her eyes.