Behind the Scenes
with Peet Viljoen

Peet Viljoen is a qualified lawyer, a well-known and respected businessman in the beauty industry, and a philanthropist who believes in giving back to communities wherever he can.

know your rights

Growing up in the farming town of Hendrina in Mpumalanga, Peet quickly realised that in order to make a life for himself beyond a poor upbringing and a small town, he would have to grasp every opportunity to rise above his circumstances. Sent to boarding school at the age of 5, he quickly learned how to fend for himself, and it was here that both his keen sense of justice, and his entrepreneurial mindset, were born.

“I witnessed many injustices at boarding school, and it sparked in me the desire to become a lawyer, which would give me the tools to help set right injustices in the future,” says Peet. “I also learned very quickly that everything is for sale, and the best way to get ahead was to learn how to do business. I had to pay people to help me do things I was too little to do, and I learned early on the value of money and earning a living.”

Peet chose his passion for the law and the justice system as his first career, enrolling at the University of Pretoria for a B.Proc. after his compulsory four years of military service. “I was only 16 when I started Matric, having started school so young, but even as a teenager I was resolute in my decision to one day practice law,” he says. “I finished studying in 1994, and the following year I was admitted as an attorney after completing my articles. I put my heart and soul into being a lawyer, growing my practice to the point where I was representing the top people in the country. Part of me wanted to prove to my family that I could be the first one in our family to successfully graduate from university and pursue a professional career, and the other part was driven by my personal ambition and my passion for the law.”

After almost two decades of practising law, and gaining a reputation for one of the best lawyers in town, Peet’s law career hit a rough patch, culminating in his leaving the legal profession. “I learned a lot from that time in my life,” he says. “I thought I was resilient before – I learned to be tougher. I thought I was resourceful before – I learned to maximise the skills at my disposal. I took the challenge I was faced with to heart, and decided to reawaken my entrepreneurial spirit and become a businessman. I knew it was up to me to make the most of a tough situation – no one else was going to do it for me.”

01

One step ahead

Peet understands that many employers might not have access to protective equipment

02

A plan to be made

These words embody his attitude to his career and life in general – pick yourself up, dust yourself off

03

give back to others

There are many less fortunate people who would be able to shine if they just received some assistance

Peet's passion for communities saw him generously donate over 1 000 fabric masks and hand sanitizers to those working in essential services during the national lockdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Peet saw an opportunity in the beauty industry

Spotting a gap in the market for high-end luxury products that was not being serviced in South Africa. “I have always had a love for the finer things in life – I appreciate quality and the skill required to make quality products,” he says. “I brought that love of quality into the beauty industry, and I’m proud to say that it has been a success. This has been my focus for almost a decade now, and aside from being able to carry through lessons learned during my career as a lawyer, I’ve also learned some new lessons along the way.”

Peet says that one of the most important lessons he has learned from being an entrepreneur that one should be firm in one’s business values, but flexible in executing strategies for achieving success. “If your values are strong and unwavering, you can be flexible in accommodating the normal ebbs and flows of being an entrepreneur,” he says. “If you do not learn to be flexible, you will not be able to move quickly when opportunities present themselves. You will also struggle to solve unique challenges if you are not prepared to think outside of the box.”