By Victory Oduneye
Late last year, there was a joke making rounds on the internet that armed robbers now snatch wigs off the heads of our ladies, instead of carting away with their wallets or phones. While this is heartbreaking, hilarious and sad at the same time (but mostly hilarious), it clearly shows that the robbers are aware of the fact that these wigs cost a fortune. The price of a number of them competes with that of a piece of land.
I know this for a fact. I was in a beauty shop recently and while in a hurry to get what I wanted, I overheard a conversation between a hair vendor and a customer. Well, the customer wanted a particular type of hair and the price was N450, 000, i.e $1,125. I was shocked to say the least! ‘Why would anyone spend that much on hair, when you can buy a land?’, I thought to myself for a while. However, I snapped out of it almost immediately, on a second thought, when you have the resources, spoiling yourself shouldn’t be an issue. Moreover, the prices of the hair determines its durability in many cases.
That conversation coupled with the high patronage the business enjoys, however, got me interested in the hair extension business. Is it a lucrative venture? How’s the startup like? Is it risk-free?
Following these reasons, The News beam caught up with some hair vendors at Balogun Market in Lagos Island, Nigeria, to gain insight into what the hair extension business is like.
How much does it cost to start up your own hair business in Nigeria?
Chukwu Ebuka of King of Hair Nigeria Limited explained that you may need more than N300.000 to start any hair business.
“Hmmm, if you are getting a shop, like 5 million Naira, but if you want to be selling it around, like N400,000 – N500,000”, he said.
Tolu, who works for Estol Nigeria Limited, stated that one might need more than that to start up.
“Without shop you will be needing like 500,000 thousand naira, while with shop, you will be needing 4-5 million Naira, because shops in this place is very expensive, for example, if you want to get a very small shop, you will be needing 1.2 million Naira and you would have to pay for 2-3 years, and that is 2.4 million to 3.6 million Naira”, he explained.
Corroborating Tolu’s response, another vendor, Promise, the CEO of Natex Hairs, said, “you will need 5-6 million Naira, as a starter, especially, if you are getting a shop, because to get a shop is expensive asides putting it in good shape. But without a shop, you will be needing 2-4 million Naira to get good products”.
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How profitable is the hair business in Nigeria?
The vendors, however, agreed that the accrued income is worth every sweat of gathering capital to get your business rolling. Some went as far as stating that the profit is what they love most about the business.
Answering the question, ‘what attracted you to the business?’, Tolu emphatically said “Money, the profit the business gives”. “Also, now the business doesn’t have much trouble like before, because, the Chinese are now in Nigeria, so we just collect or buy from them and distribute, unlike before that we have to import it. There is less problem with the business, it’s lucrative, it’s highly profitable”, he concluded.
Ebuka alsoconfirmed, “the profit in the business is good. It has a high profit margin”.
What are the challenges you might face?
Like every other business, the hair business also has its own challenges. The vendors explained that customer satisfaction, competition, exchange rate and levies by the federal government are the major obstacles they face in the course of running their businesses.
Ebuka said: “Complaint from customers. For example, after selling the hair and assuring the customer of quality, after sometime the customer comes to complain that they don’t like the hair, that it’s not doing the way they want, and as per customer is always right, we collect it from them and have to work on it”.
“Another issue is the dollar rate, it’s chasing customers away because the prices of hair goes up as the amount to buy dollar in naira goes up”, he lamented.
Concluding, Ebuka said “the government should stop locking shops because of petty stuffs especially in the market. And if government can help the purchasing power of dollar to be low, it will reduce the high prices of weavon and more customers will come”.
Speaking on the challenges, Promise said: “Getting new customers, especially when you are new. Even when you are in the business too, getting customers can be challenging because there are competitors. Then there are lots of shops that are bigger than my own, so they kind of attract customers more, because they have more varieties”. “The government should stop collecting unnecessary money from us. They can help us reduce the shop rent, like now this my very small shop is 1.2 million naira per annum. Dollar is also affecting the business, if they can help with that too”, he added.
Verifying this, Tolu said “there are lots of shops around. The competition is high. The government should give us access to loans”.
Meanwhile, various reasons informed the vendors’ decision of starting up a hair business and other reasons have kept them going. For Ebuka, it was passion. “Right from childhood, I have been attracted to anything about women, for example, when my sisters were making their hair when they were little, I would be present to help complete the hair. So when the opportunity came, I plunged into it, since it’s something I love doing”, he said. ‘I love it also when the customer is satisfied with the products and refer people to us’, Ebuka added.
However, for Promise it was the inability to get into a tertiary institution. He said, “After Secondary School, I attempted JAMB several times but I didn’t pass, so instead of doing nothing I started buying and selling hair to my friends. I would take it to them wherever they are. And as the business was going I saw that there was profit in it, and I decided to expand and get a shop as the profit was coming in”. ‘I love the business. It gives me joy and it gives me confidence’, he added.
Answering the question, “what would you love to improve in this business?”, Ebuka said: “I would love to work more with Virgin or Raw Hair, because it’s just like the human natural hair, but it’s expensive.
‘I would love to own a building where I can sell my products. I would want to have another branch in Lagos and other states like Ogun and Oyo states, so that I can be supplying hair from Lagos. I will also love to have a salon and a shop where I sell clothes”, Promise noted.
Why do women use weavon?
According to research, the use of weavon, commonly known as hair extensions or hair weaves, started as far back as 1940. However, in the 1950s, an African-American hairdresser, Christina Jenkins invented and patented hair weaves, changing hair care for many African-American women. Weavon add length and fullness to human hair. Hair extensions are usually clipped, glued, or sewn on natural hair by incorporating additional human or synthetic hair. These methods include tape-in extensions, clip-in or clip-on extensions, fusion method, weaving method, and wigs.
Studies have shown that there are about 8 Reasons Why Women Use Hair Weavon:.
1. Give Your Real Hair a Break: If you are a natural haired girl and you find yourself with a strict washday routine and you are always twisting, braiding, or knotting your hair every three days, then you probably buy a weave to give your over manipulated hair a 4 to 6-week break.
2: Protection From Heat Damage: Along those same lines, a weave installed with a closure or frontal piece can enable you to use the heat tools at any time. Weaves are perfect for the woman looking for a super sleek style on a daily basis.
3: You Are Going Through “THE TRANSITION”: Some women may buy a weave if they are going through the transition from relaxed hair to natural hair. A hair weave installation can help you to conceal your hair and enable it to grow in peace while you still have straight pieces of hair.
4: Cover Hair Loss or Bald Spots: Whether it’s alopecia, chemo, or stress that is making your hair fall out in clumps, a weave can be used to cure those insecurities.
5: Manageability: Weaves with a looser texture o f hair are sometimes easier to manage than our natural hair textures. Purchasing a weave enables ease of styling than your natural hair.
6: Provides Instantly Thicker Hair: In a more timely approach to solving the curse of thin hair, some women may buy weaves to sew tracks in between their natural hair.This styling method gives the illusion of thicker, fuller hair in a matter of hours.
7: Provides Instantly Longer Hair: Similar to the reason above many women purchase hair weave to give them instant length!
8: Style Experimentation or a New Look: Weaves allow women to experiment with a new cut, color, or style without requiring a full-on commitment.