DR. (Mrs.) Elizabeth Adebisi Osinsanya (OON, JP), popularly known as Elegant Twins, celebrated her 80th birthday and 60 years in business on Monday, September 2, 2013. A lot of dignitaries from all walks of life celebrated with her. ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with her on life at 80. We also asked her questions on her 60 years of business as well.
Thank you very much. I feel so good and on top of the world. So many things happened in the past but God kept me through them all. I give glory to God.
Do you feel 80?
I don’t know what you mean by feeling 80. It all depends on you, if you feel good, you will feel younger, if you make yourself feel old, you will look old. I feel very young. I still feel the same. I am still feeling young. A lot of people came to celebrate with me during my birthday.
You don’t look 80, can you tell us the secret?
Hard work, I don’t feel tired. I go to work every day. I wake up early, I don’t eat too much.
Is there a particular diet you take now at your age?
No special diet, I take what is good for me. I don’t choose food. I take what I feel like eating that is it. I also love taking hot things. I don’t take iced and cold things.
What are the things you can no longer do as a result of old age?
I do everything, even more than when I am younger. I still sweep, I exercise. I work in the salon when my staffers are so busy. I assist in one way or the other. I also teach in the school. I do everything.
Can you tell us some of your greatest achievements at 80?
I thank God. A week to my 80th birthday, God gave me two great grandchildren. Two of my grandchildren put to bed. I have a lot of achievement which have kept me singing all the days of my life. I have not been sick. I don’t have to visit the hospital nor a dentist. I thank God for it.
Are there some goals you would have loved to achieve that you have not achieved up till now?
God has given me so many things which other people don’t have. I tell people that if I die today, nobody killed me. I think I obey God. I am still doing what He sent me to do. The only thing I still pray for is long life, I pray to be 120.
Do you plan to retire?
My dear, when you die is when you retire. If you don’t work, you will die of laziness and tiredness. If you just sit down doing nothing, you wouldn’t last. I still want to be coming to work, though I cannot do much but I will continue to come.
Is any of your children interested in taking over from you?
Children of nowadays, if you tell them to do something, they will give reasons for not having interest in it, telling you that they are interested in this or that. None at all, the only person who had interest is late. She died at 34, but one of my grandchildren is interested. Though she is a banker, she schooled abroad. She is doing this as part time.
What is your opinion about the state of things in the industry?
The industry is going higher, it is doing marvelously most especially if you know what you are doing. New trends emerge daily. I think now is the right time for anybody who is willing to go into it.
You have stayed in business for 60 years what is your staying power?
It is God’s calling, God called me into this business, that is why I have stayed up till now. I also thank God for the good parents He gave me. They encouraged me to go into the business. I didn’t want to do it at the initial stage. Nobody taught me how to make hair, I will just go to our tenants and help them to make their hair. That was how it started. Since I started, I have not done any other thing. At the beginning, I was selling shoes and bags. And God has blessed me with so many things. I have built a house, bought cars from it. I thank God for everything.
Can you recall how you started business?
I worked in a big store, Kingsway Store, for some years. I got married while working there. We later travelled to London. I went to school in London to hone my skills and started a salon at home. Later, we moved to Nigeria and set up the school which we are still running till today.
What advise do you have for young ladies willing to go into this business?
First, I will advise them to know what they want to do, they should make up their mind about it. If they don’t have interest in any job and they jump into it, they wouldn’t make it but if you have interest in it, you will put all your effort into it. Gone are the days that drop outs go into hair dressing and beauty business, it is not for drop outs. You can be educated, have all degrees and still be a drop out in any business you don’t have interest in. Do whatever you are doing well, put all your efforts into it. You have to be tolerant and patient, always remember that your customers are always right. Parents should advise their children to go into handiwork. It can be second jobs for them, it doesn’t matter.
What year did you establish the school and what are some of the courses on offer?
I started in 1969, I was back in Nigeria than. I started on Ondo West Street, Ebute Metta, Lagos. I went for a fresher course in London. While I was there, I learnt everything in the beauty industry from head to toe, just name it make-up, facials, nails to mention a few. When I started, I had 12 students and they graduated from the school. Gradually, the school started expanding. We teach everything you need to know about the beauty industry. We do both practical and theoretical.
Elegant Twins showcased make-up beauty world during Festac ’77, Mariam Makemba used to come here then. We have serviced a lot of people. I thank God that the school is still there waxing strong. A lot of people who have name in the beauty industry who are based in London were trained at Elegant Twins. We have a lot of graduates in Europe, Senegal, Cameron, etc. I travel every year to Europe for exhibition, seminars so that I can be able to follow the new trend in the business. We had our graduation during my birthday celebration, 75 students graduated. A lot of dignitaries came from all over the world to celebrate with us. I think we have tired for Nigeria and the world.
– SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN