Is life always smooth sailing? Maybe, maybe not.
Immediately after clearing my A-Levels, I got my first born at 19 years. Giving birth at a young age, without the know-how of how to be a mother could prove to be an ordeal keeping in mind that there is no any support from the child’s father and your parents seeing you as a burden.
At 21 years, I got another kid, my second born. My Mum advised me that I should go and take a course in Early Childhood Development. In my view, that was a good idea going by my love for kids. I did go to college and did early Childhood Development, but just to take you back a bit. I also had another passion in Hairdressing right from the moment I was in class 6, at age 12. I used to go to salons over my vacation and assist in Hair Dressing and get paid, well just a little but enough considering I was a student. I cleared my College education and did teaching for four years. Over my time as a teacher, other teachers used to come to me to have their hair done, which I did with pleasure. In case I was not in class teaching, I would be making someone’s hair. I would give students some assignment to find some room to do someone’s hair. Others would tell me that they loved what I did in both in teaching and hairdressing. “You will never be 100% good in either teaching or doing hair, and I think it would be fine to follow whichever satisfies you most.” One of my colleagues always advised.
I went home and did an inner soul searching on what to settle in. I realized that as much as I loved being around children, I never liked teaching. All the lessons plan, schemes, duty roles were not in my interest, but the introspection of being around kids was fascinating. It is then that it dawned on me that I was in more of hairdressing than being a teacher. As much as people viewed me as a good hairdresser, it was through skills acquired and not learned. I felt the time was apt for me to move on from my comfort zone and learn really what professional hairdressers do. I went to town without much savings and soon started regretting why. I had no money to go to for a professional hairdressing course. I debated on the idea of going back to the village but then realized that all journeys start with a single step of faith. If you want to achieve, you cannot cow away out of distress or having little faith in yourself.
My first hairdressing role in the city of prospects was at Majengo the slum which my cousin was housing me. After much deliberation and consultation, I managed to do a client’s hair who happened to work in a salon. Although it was also my first time using a sink, opening a tap was an ordeal. After completion, I was afraid that I had gotten it wrong. I looked at her hoping for the worst, but then she seemed to like it.
Miraculously her boss also loved her hair; she wanted to employ that person who did that hair. I was called for an interview which I was supposed to attend the following day. Having no papers, never been in another interview was kind of scary. But then a voice within told me to be myself, go out there and do it. I had no good clothes to go for the interview. I wore jeans and a t-Shirt written: “real men don’t beat women.”
In the Interview
The boss, Agatha was very friendly. Her salon was well; I had never seen such a posh place for a salon. She had already made a decision to hire me. “I won’t restrict or guide you on what to do, just do what you like perfectly” My boss was my first client on my day of employment. I did her hair, and she asked me to report on Monday. She agreed to give me a retainer of Ksh 15,000 though she said she pays others on commission. I did not know that payment on commission would have been better since others, well, were getting good fortunes. The things she liked in our first encounter was the fact that I did her hair perfectly, I was good in consulting her on what style she wanted and the fact that I inquired on how to use some hairdressing equipment which I had never set my hands on. Over that period, my boss informed me of a friend who was doing an article magazine, and whether I would be interested.
The salon had established stable hairdressers with clients. They never took up interest in the story and ignored the opportunity since they thought it was a waste of time. We did the article with a colleague who was fresh from college, my current business partner (Richie).
I went on coping with my new workplace, as a beginner, Richie used to train me and share his tea. Whenever he had no cash, we would do what we did best, learning new hairdressing styles and satisfying our clientele.
After the magazines, had been published, things changed all of a sudden. We got numerous phone Calls from clients wanting their hair done for events; job invites et cetra. We thought it was time we negotiated for better commissions for our work.
We learned to appreciate our worth and deliver our skills through our passion and talent. At every opportunity, it is advisable to know what you are worth. Passion and talent are things that can take you far. Capitalize on your talent every day as it’s a special gift given for free
We became business partner with my friend Richie, and as of today, our brand is well recognized and appreciated throughout Kenya.
You may find some of our products at http://www.uturi.co.ke. I have done a lot of hairdressing which has been my main source of income enabling me to cater for all my needs. I have worked with various big names and I feel the journey is not yet halfway done.
Sometimes it has not always been smooth sailing. When I got no clients, I used to go to book shops and read on beauty products and later leave having learned something,
Use every single second in your life to make your neighbor a better place True Story from Hair award and part of the main organizers Corrine Nyumoo.