I have been AWOL for too long here, I deeply apologize.
Here I am, back with a full bang.
We will be unveiling many more parts to us and living up to our intense desire to inspire, empower and impact in the course of few weeks. Just Stay Glued here!
I made a decision to live up to the promise made in the last post on Lifecycle of Trends and how economies are built, remodeled or pulled down with each evolving trend or style. The truth is while one style evolves and rises up, another moves down or eventually dies and the one that seems to go down or die eventually come back alive sometimes in the future .
I shall take you down memory lane on my ‘Natural hair journey’, the lessons learnt and the emerging economies therein. Here my story goes – I remember with raised nose and popping eyes my hair-growing exercise after High School. By the way, in my days It was like a given to start making hair after High School and set in motion the teenage-fashion journey which begins with very short plait and progressively explore more styles as the hair length grows. In my childhood days and my part of the world, hair salons were not designed for children or young people, strictly for adults. Young people usually get their hair done by middle-aged women with kiosk by the roadside at the end of the road or under a tree in a corner in the neighbourhood. They sit pretty on their low stool with the head and hair to be made stuck inbetween their laps! Oh my! How many of you can relate here?! I wish I can forget that forever! Wishing hard! Their names usually starts with Mama . . . as prefix. Usually highly skilled and painstaking with the hairdo and different hairstyles for their clients, some even have a catalogue for you to choose from. You find them spend considerable time on a person’s hair – braiding, plaiting and weaving and all they earn is a paltry sum of money and you wonder how many people’s hair they will make in a day and how much that amounts to for them. Of course, their business model is low-cost: location is usually their residence or in a corner or at best a kiosk or shop within the neighborhood so no cost on rent and transportation. They seem very content with their sole entrepreneur hair stall, their low customer base, time to income value and the price or service charge which is usually very low. This market segment exists till today making hair for as low as Two Hundred Naira (barely half of a dollar)! They are low cost, low-priced and more often than not resident in localities where cost of living is very low.
As my hair grew, I eventually decided to graduate from the plaiting mode to a lady with curls, though this took a long while to happen but it eventually did – deliverance from the kinky bulky hair for the ease of handling and all as I so desired at that time. I remember buying my first jar of hair relaxer, oh! what height of excitement! It seemed like a feat l. I was so elated and felt that was my debut as a lady and of course I believed the look made me feel more attractive and better than the nerd, church-girl look I grew up with or so I thought . . . Of course, I jumped into another ship of hairstyle – permed, curls and all at a higher cost though. Over the years, my hair budget increased progressively from roadside hairdresser to “salon”. From plaits to perm, curls to weaves to human hair to low curls cut and now back to the basics; from one trend to another, the cost kept jerking up consistently with some cost almost buying a piece of land in the hinterland in my village. Even the plaits made at the cost of barely Two Hundred Naira (half a dollar) are as well done in some highbrow neighborhood at Thousands of Naira (multiple of dollars). Now the increase in costs did not necessarily correspond to financial status or level (well I’m not a finance expert). But it impacted and is still impacting significantly on my economy as long as I keep desiring a particular look and style, it will always be at a cost.
The Hair vendors, hair accessories makers & allied items producer, hairdressers, trainers, advertisers and celebrities leading the vogue and creating styles are actually in business and will continue to be in business capitalizing and maximizing the available opportunities in your desire to look and feel good. For instance, the market of natural oils, essential oils, butters, herbs, weaves, hair of different grades and styles, locks and all is booming and worth billion of Naira. Guess what?! It will continue to be! The cost that is paid is in the value that both buyers and sellers agreeably place on the product and service. Think about this and do this exercise, check out the price of shea butter on www.google.ng and then go to the next market near you. . . compare the prices; both points of sale have patronage, there is difference in price and presentation but not necessarily in quality.
Here’s the catch – The concepts of style, trend and finances are material aspect of our lives whether as the seller or the buyer. Here is the deal and the lesson: inbetween the hair/beauty industry in style and trends there are opportunities with endless and varied value chains from the buyers and the sellers. Which side of the divide are you and what are your gains? How much do you allow trends, styles and vogues to guide your decisions and your pockets? How much are you gaining from trends, styles and vogues?