A Piece of New York in SA – Luxury Personified


I had the pleasure of meeting the woman behind SOHO, the New York brand in South Africa, Getty Gizaw. This Young, beautiful and full of life entrepreneur is a self acclaimed shy woman but when she opens her mouth to speak people shut up and listen to her, for a shy person she somehow manages to captivate us in her story telling. She is articulate and connected to what she says.

There’s no doubt that the beauty is connected to Africa, she was born in Ethiopia, grew up, studied and matured in the Big Apple. She holds an MBA from Havard and has brought acts like R Kelly to South Africa, not just a pretty face.

Getty is a well established business woman in media and most importantly the beauty industry. Ms Getty takes us through how SOHO came about “I created the SOHO brand from scratch. The original name of SOHO was actually; SHESHA Nails. I wanted to give it a local, indigenous name in order to pay homage to Zulu/local culture. I named it SHESHA to convey the fast, quick, in and out service that we’re able to provide. I soon changed the name after meeting a prominent businessman here in JoBurg who strongly urged me to give the business a Western name.

I named it SOHO after my favorite neighborhood in NYC. I live in Midtown and SOHO is the place in both London and NYC that I go to to relax and have a good time w/friends, shopping, etc.
I designed the store myself with the idea of a SOHO loft in mind, down to an industrial communal basin in the middle of the shop. I designed a place that I would want to patron. I’ve always loved practical and functional design where not only does it look good but it works well, too! It’s amazing to me how so many people feel that SOHO Nails is a brand that I franchised and brought in from the US; but it’s not.

I’ll also credit our Brand Designer in NY. She’s also the same Brand Designer who created the Tory Burch brand, Kim Kardashian perfume brand, Vera Wang and many more. I gave her the look and feel of the SOHO logo that I wanted to create, which by the way was inspired by the old NYC Subway (train) tokens; and we created what is now the SOHO Nails|Waxing|Beauty logo”. What a journey to this now famous household brand.

Picture: Sharon Seretlo, Independent Newpapers
Picture: Sharon Seretlo

“I like to take care of myself and believe that grooming is important. In all the years of coming to SA, usually bringing a music act to perform at concerts, I couldn’t get a mani and pedi the same way I could in New York, while still staying plugged in to my busy work schedule.”

And this is part of the reason she brought SOHO to SA. Like any intelligent entrepreneur Getty saw a need for the upper class market and met that need which has catered to celebrities, politicians and dignitaries from across the globe who come to visit South Africa including A listers such as Oprah, Naomi Campbell and Rihanna just to name a few.

The beauty salon gives more than just standard value for money, if as a client you need them to get you your favorite coffee they will gladly hook you up, convenience and comfort is the name of their game.

Here are some facts about SOHO

– Luxurious beauty salon which is right in the heart of Sandton City
– Custom designed cubbies to accomodate handbags so that they can be kept off the floor
– Each station has a plug point to charge your phone, PDA or laptop (and SOHO has every charger conceivable)
– Retractable tables create a work station for your laptop while you get a pedicure or let you get a mani and pedi at once
– Free WiFi is available
– Nail dryer machine station ensures long-lasting, chip free nails
– Sandton City’s only store with three dedicated parking bays
– The Soho, New York-loft-style design blends industrial chic with a functional aesthetic that maximises space to lend an impression of openness.

So next time you want to spoil yourself with a mani, pedi or wax go visit SOHO SA and you may be fortunate to meet Ms Getty personally and experience the warm heart she has and the contagious smile. An entrepreneur who brought a fancy brand to the African soil and plans to open more in good time deserves to be applauded especially because when international stars come to SA they will be catered for by our very own.



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