Phillip Ihensekhien is the Chief Executive Officer of Prosman Salon in Alimosho, Lagos State, Nigeria. The 32-year-old Political Science graduate of National Open University of Nigeria takes KENNEDY MBELE, in this interview, through his journey into the beauty business while offering useful tips to those who wishing to go into it
At Prosman Salon, do you plait ladies’ hair or is it just a men’s salon?
Prosman is a barbershop established 10 years ago, where we take proper care of people’s hair, especially men. We don’t plait, but we retouch ladies’ hair.
What is your aim of establishing the salon?
I established it because of the great passion I have for looking good. Again, I needed other sources of income to enable me sponsor my education.
Do you have another business venture?
I am also a real estate agent.
How did you pick up the skill?
I was trained as a barber for three years. I started my training at Grace Line Salon, Ikola, Lagos State, where I spent two years. Thereafter, I proceeded to Student’s Unisex Salon, also at Ikola, for one year intensive training before establishing my own salon.
Do your customers pick their hairstyles or you pick for them?
Some customers request specific hairstyles while others just ask us to give them any style that would fit them. We have catalogues from where they also pick.
What do you think should determine one’s hairstyle?
Many factors are considered when picking a hairstyle. I will just give you two; one’s profession and the shape of their head. For instance, you cannot expect a policeman to carry afro haircut or a banker to carry dreadlocks. Similarly, while those whose head are of good shape go for skin cut, those with oblong head keep hairs.
Which hairstyle is the most difficult to cut and why?
Afro is the most difficult hairstyle because of the difficulty in ensuring the blend.
How often do you think a man should visit the salon?
Men should visit the salon weekly; they need to shave at least once a week. It is not good to keep bushy hair or beard because it makes one look irresponsible.
How do you protect yourself and your customers from contacting hair-related infections?
We sterilise our clippers and heat our towels to kill germs. We also use disinfectants, including aftershave, to treat the skin after every haircut. Beyond this, we always encourage our customers to get their personal barbing kits, because sharing of tools such as the clipper is not the best practice. Above all, we don’t use our clippers on customers suspected to be infected; we insist they get theirs and invite us for home services until they are treated.
Customers are always trooping into your salon. What is the magic?
We are very friendly with everybody and always ensure their satisfaction. We don’t rush our work and can only attend to the next person after satisfying the one in the barber chair. Also, we call them at intervals to say hello and ask about their welfare. Customers love personal recognition and care.
What does it take to establish a salon?
Basically, the prospective barber needs space, clippers, standard mirrors, chairs, sterilising machine, apron etc. Air conditioner, fan, television and a sound system will be a plus. There must be power supply.
What are the factors to consider before locating a salon?
The major factor is population density. It has to be located where people live, work and/or visit frequently.
Can you share with us some of your challenges in the trade and how you have been handling them?
This business is not capital-intensive, but one person cannot run it. We need funds to employ more hands and open branches. Customers no longer frequent the salon. Some carry their hairs for up to three weeks owing to bad economy.
What is your expansion plan?
We intend to establish a branch soon. I have asked for financial assistance from friends; I am also saving towards that.
What about seeking bank loan?
That will be our last option.
What effect do government policies have on this business?
Government policies do not have any serious effect on it. Just pay the local government their annual business permit and you are done with them for the year.
What other information would you like to share with us?
I would like to advise those who may wish to go into salon business to do so because it is a good venture. But they should try to garner a little experience about it before putting their money into it. Again, they should either run the salon themselves or hire trusted hands. Above all, they should ask for God’s guidance.