Cover Stories, Interviews

Male hairdressers reveal their torments and triumphs

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WHEN they started out, there was discrimination from the society for going into a female related business.  But now, the same people who rejected them are now embracing their touch, insisting on a male stylist to make their hair.

ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some male hair stylists on why they are in a female related profession.

A lot of people laughed at me’ – VICTOR AGBEDA

1-victorWhat informed the decision to go into a female related business?

I am a make-up artist and a stylist. The situation of the country made me go into hair dressing.  I went to a computer school but didn’t get a job after graduating.  I thought of learning how to make furniture but it requires a lot of capital to set up.  I later went to learn barbing, while barbing, I decided to learn the female aspect though I didn’t have it in mind to concentrate on it.  I was just helping a woman at her salon, anytime she is too busy or not chanced, I stand in for her.  She was paying me and I realized what she used to pay me was more than I get from barbing.  That was how I decided to learn it properly.  I went to Ivory Coast for a nine months course on natural hair breakage and came back to set up my own.  I was still searching for paid employment but didn’t get one, by then, people were already coming to learn from me.  So, I decided to take it serious.

What was people’s perception when you started out?

People were saying that I like women that is why I am in a woman related profession.  A lot of people laughed at me but I decided to keep at it.

How long have you been in this business?

I started in 1997.

How will you describe the experience?

Starting was very tough for me but we have been able to sail through.  I can’t consider working for anybody again.  I am good with what I have.  I have graduates working for me.  I have graduated 97 workers from my shop.  As you are talking to me now, I am on my bed, my shop is already opened and it is doing fine.  I will go and meet them later.  I used to hold a meeting with my workers every Monday, I encourage them, motivate them.  It has been good really.

How many workers do you have?

I have 16 people working under me.

Is it true that clients prefer a male to make their hair?

Most women prefer men because men are not easily provoked.  They are patient.  They have unique touch though some women are equally good at it.  Men take corrections from clients. If it is a woman, she will be grumbling underneath and you wouldn’t hear what she is saying.  Men will go to the extent of giving freebies, such as curving the eyebrow.

Men have good customer relations, I assist clients take their bags to their cars when leaving.  It was raining on Thursday, I had to go under the rain, to get an umbrella that I used in seeing a client off to her car.  One of my female apprentices was just looking at me without taking any move.

 

‘NIGERIA IS A BIG MARKET’ – Bollywood Sanjay Sachdev

1-SANJAYWhat informed the decision to go into a female related business?

Women like looking good, they don’t spare cost to just look good. They are ready to spend their money in making a good hair.

What was people’s perception when you started out?

People were buying from us.  We sell all types of hair aside making hair.  A lot of men are into this profession.  So, there is no discrimination of any kind.

How long have you been in this business?

More than 12 years in Nigeria and 22 years in Africa.

How will you describe the experience?

Nigeria market is big, like I said before, women can spend all they have on looking good.  Once you are good at what you do, people will patronize you.

Is it true that clients prefer a male to make their hair?

Yes, more salons have more male stylists now because they are good at what they do.  They are patient.  They pay attention to details.

 

‘It started like a joke’ – PETER JOSU

1-josuWhat informed the decision to go into a female related business?

It started like a joke.  I didn’t go into it intentionally. I used to help my sisters make hair at home.  I am from Badagry, our people make good hair.  Later, I realized that I could make money out of it, I could turn it into a business.  So, I decided to learn it well.  I learnt it from my sisters.

What was people’s perception when you started out?

People love it, maybe because of the environment I come from. It is something they appreciate.

How long have you been in this business?

I started in 1998, that is 17 years ago.  I was in primary school when I started developing interest in it.

How will you describe the experience?

It has been wonderful. I can say that I am someone today because of the hair I make for people. I have a sense of fulfillment doing what I like.  What makes me and other people happy. I love seeing women with beautiful and neat hair style.  It has really been rewarding.

Is it true that clients prefer a male to make their hair?

Men are faster.  They concentrate more than women.  They pay attention to details.  Women are easily distracted.  Women go to their place of work with their children, that is a form of distraction.  A lot of them in this profession work with passion.  They put their best in what they do.

 

‘Some women are choosy’ – FEMI SAMUEL

1-femihairWhat informed the decision to go into a female related business?

I didn’t set out to learn how to make hair.  My mother was a stylist, she owns a salon.  After school, myself and my siblings used to go to her shop to assist her.  That was how I started developing the interest in the job.  Some clients will even call me for home service and pay me for it, that was how it started.

What was people’s perception when you started out?

Some will gather round me to watch what I could do.  I can remember, a lot of people discouraged me.  Things are better now compared to when we started.  A lot of men are going into the business.

How long have you been in this business?

20 years now.

How will you describe the experience?

The business is doing fine.  It is something I have passion for, I am enjoying it.  I like seeing women beautiful.

How many workers do you have?

I have six people working for me.

Is it true that clients prefer a male to make their hair?

Yes, that is true.  Some women are choosy.  They wouldn’t allow a lady do anything on their hair except a man.  Men are kind and patient as well.  They are equally good in making hair.

-SHADE WELSEY-METIBOGUN

 

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