Since time immemorial, long before the days of our fathers’ and their fathers before them, women have always been about the ‘hair,’ that glorious covering that can raise a girl’s opinions and shoulders or flatten her morale like a deflated balloon.
Renowned writer Chimamanda Adichie dedicated a whole book to discussions about the state of the hair and several songs have been written about hair; from Nina Simone’s adaptation of “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” to “Hair Braider,” by R. Kelly and “I Am Not My Hair,” by India Arie.
Don’t forget the epic song by little Willow Smith, “I Whip my Hair Back and Forth.”
Fact is, hair is important; it will never go out of fashion and catering to the whims and caprices of hair-owners is a source of revenue that is not affected by the drop in oil prices.
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Of the thousand and one ways women have invented to dominate, subjugate, oppress or style the hair, braiding stands out for its versatility, uniqueness and never-ending innovation.
A decade or more ago, Ghana-weaving was unknown to the people of Nigeria and suddenly it came upon us and remained to wreck havoc with our very delicate ‘front’ hair.
Nod if you agree that Ghana-weaving is the number one ‘chopper’ of front hair. Good.
Nothing gives a woman more pleasure- and I am speaking in very general terms- than to be complimented for an impressive hair do.
I mean we invest ourselves into creating these works of art and not just in the hours spent.
Our bodies ache, our scalps ache, our feet swell and we still have to part with huge sums of money at the end of the ordeal.
But I forget myself; hair-braiding is important, so important that it may be imperative in coming years for every young girl or guy to acquire the art of braiding- and not just for those when intend to earn in dollars when they travel overseas.’
Overseas…’ I wonder who coined that term.
I have been around a few braiding parlors and salons in my 5+ years in Port Harcourt and I have chosen to centre this treatise on the booming business of Hair Do, a salon located within the GRA axis of Port Harcourt.
As a matter of fact, the term ‘braiding parlors’ came to me when I thought of Hair Do; stepping into that place for the first time was surreal- a large space filled with worker bees in uniform shirts hunched around the all-important hair, twisting, twining, locking, rolling and pulling away.
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Prices were determined based on the length of hair which is measured according to shoulder-length, bra-length and waist length or longer.
Even if all you wanted to do was two giant braids, as long as it went past your shoulder, it had an uppity price.
Then the very ‘interesting’ Manager… apparently, it was taboo to attempt to negotiate prices.
I was met with a cold stare and a brisk instruction to my attendant to ignore me and attend to other matters.
Wow, these people don’t play, I thought.
Its ‘fly’ factor was very basic though.
Asides from a television permanently tuned to Africa Magic and the chilled interior, Hair Do did not have much to offer in the aspect of comfort, but that did not deter their customers.
I mean, people can afford to pay an extra 3 or 4 thousand when they are guaranteed that they will be done, up and about in 2 to 3 hours- Hair Do had the speed button on braids.
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Fast forward to 2018 and Hair Do seems set to up their fly factor by a thousand volts.
They have an impressive new building opposite Genesis in GRA and I can only imagine how it will turn out when it is completed.
I can also only imagine the price for bra-length hair!!! Do I dare try myself?
If you have been over-thinking it, stop!
Get into the braiding business now and thank me later.