The Hatch Institute is building a new breed of Leader purpose-fit for South Africa

Culture-driven Leaders will drive success in South Africa

At the Hatch Institute, our goal isn’t just to help build leaders who can drive real growth within their organisations. We believe that business leaders who focus on their people, address the realities of race relations and who are purpose-led can change South Africa for the better.

We need systemic change to build a country that delivers opportunities to all levels of society, and we believe that change can be achieved through a new breed of business leadership: Culture-Driven Leadership.

How I built the Sorbet Group
through an obsessive focus on culture

Most entrepreneurial stories start off with identifying a business opportunity, then working like crazy to get it off the ground. If (or hopefully when) this is achieved, the next step is to try and build a culture that will help the company achieve its objectives through its people.

I view culture in a completely different way. For me, culture comes first.

My first business, K-Mart, catered to the black market in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Our customers and employees were predominantly black South Africans, and we quickly discovered that we needed to immerse ourselves in their culture, instead of the other way around. The more we shared with each other as employers, employees and colleagues, the higher our productivity and customer service levels became.

In the early 1990s, I launched a labour consultancy, Labour Link, to assist businesses navigate race relations within their organisations during one of South Africa’s most tumultuous periods.

Throughout my career I have remained convinced that, despite the complexity of the South African socio-political landscape, if we can create a working environment that is conducive to the creation of a common purpose of obsessive customer service, we will have the recipe for a successful business.

When I launched Sorbet in 2004, it wasn’t because I had a burning desire to change the beauty salon industry in South Africa. It was because I had a culture framework that was ready for a business opportunity, and the predominantly white beauty industry perfectly suited my needs.

Over the previous 28 years, from K-Mart through to Labour Link, I had developed what I believed was the blueprint for a successful business culture.

I set about instilling that culture into the Sorbet chain of beauty salons. Over the next 15 years, Sorbet grew into the largest beauty salon chain in Africa. In an industry where the competition was plentiful, it became clear that competitors could copy our look and feel, our marketing, our pricing and even our service menu, but there was one thing they couldn’t copy… our culture of service.

The attitude with which our staff delivered their services became our biggest competitive advantage.

Today, I’m even more passionate about culture than ever before, which is why I’ve launched the Hatch Institute. I truly believe that we’ve built a framework that any business can embrace and follow. I believe that if we all become ‘cultureneers’, we can change the face of business in South Africa, solve race relations in a meaningful and impactful way, and spread success across our country and all levels of society.

Are you ready to join South Africa’s ranks of Cultureneers?



Meet the Cultureneers who are serious about building a new breed of South African leaders

Ian Fuhr

Ian has been described as a “serial entrepreneur”. He has started several successful businesses, including the Sorbet beauty salon chain. He has now set up a new Life and Business coaching business called The Hatch Institute. The author of two books, Ian’s main area of focus is people, leadership and culture.

Brent Fuhr

Brent Fuhr is the former Chief Executive of Sorbet Salons and Nail Bars. With over 10 years of retail and franchising experience, he helped build Sorbet into the largest beauty salon chain in Africa. Brent has a degree in B COM Intrapreneurship through UJ and a BA Honors in Brand Leadership from VEGA.

Jade Kirkel

Sitting at the family dinner table as a teenager, Jade Kirkel was bemused to hear her father announce that he intended to open a chain of beauty salons called Sorbet. Little did she know then that the idea would serve as her springboard into the stratosphere of South African business. When she joined the family start up in 2009, there were 12 stores. In ten years, as the Marketing Manager of the Group, Jade helped transform the brand into a household name, focusing on the importance of having a strong brand purpose and a deep obsession with your customer. Today Jade has started her own children’s brand. She still continues to help aspiring marketers and entrepreneurs to build their businesses based on customer centricity.

Nadine Todd

Nadine Todd is the former editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa. She has interviewed over 400 entrepreneurs, senior executives, investors and subject matter experts and is deeply passionate about entrepreneurship in South Africa.

Lee-Ann Shepherd

Lee-Ann is a behavioral change specialist with a passion for the human potential for growth and transformation. She consults to companies who appreciate the value, and bottom line returns, of creating and maintaining a customer centric culture. With solid experience in entertainment, luxury goods, financial services and work socialisation, she is able to operate in a range of industries.

Joan Laine

Joan Laine is passionate about leadership development, which she facilitates and enables through coaching and business consulting. As director and owner of Embracing Change, she leverages her international experience and exposure to provide unique and sustainable transformational solutions to entrepreneurs and corporates alike.

Dvorah Stein

Dvorah is a People & Culture Strategist and Associate Certified Coach (ACC). She is a faculty member, Developmentor® and Assessor at Integral+ Africa’s Coaching Centre with a background in Industrial Psychology and 18 years’ experience in the field of people development, Human Resources, Learning and Development and Retail. She finds purpose in supporting individuals, teams and organisations to navigate change, activate their culture, transform obstacles and ignite innate potential.


Sign up for more inspiring news, events and offers from the Hatch Institute

WP Feedback

Dive straight into the feedback!
Login below and you can start commenting using your own user instantly

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This