At an early stage in life, Samuel Owem Wilson, owner of Twinnas Barbing Salon, chose the part of business to secure his future and make his way to the top. Wilson relives his journey with Correspondent, Olamide Bakare.
“I have been in the business for over 10 years now. I chose barbing after much persuasion from a friend while I was still staying in Port Harcourt .I remember that at a point, he became so much bothered about what I was doing to the extent that it drew the attention of my parents.
“that time, there was no clear-cut vocation I was engaged in. All I was doing at that time
was menial jobs that would put food on my table. At least, there was an assurance that something would come that would be enough to fend for myself. Despite the fact that there were occasional joyful moments when I got engaged in three or four menial jobs in a day, there were periods when things seem to be at a lull. However, after careful reflection, I discovered that it was not viable to continue to depend on such menial jobs. But after serious evaluation and pondering, I deemed it fit to heed to my friend’s advice as taking such step would give direction o my life. I recall that he advised me to go into barbing, saying that it was a lucrative enterprise, once I am focused, I would make a good living and achieve whatever I wanted. He made me see the opportunities therein and I trusted his judgment,” said Wilson.
Ever since he took the first step, he has been relentless in the pursuit of his business goals, and the results have been enormous. He said, “Based on my experience so far, hair barbing business offers some sense of fulfillment and guarantees some income regardless of where you find yourself. It is a vocation that rewards instantly. This job has contributed meaningfully to my life.
“As far as hair style is concerned, I know my onions. I have handled all sorts of hairdo. I have handled white men, ladies and several kinds of hairdo. Over the years, the experience has continued to bolster my confidence on the job.
“Take, for instance, haircut for ladies, it is something that requires experience. In the last few months, I have had close to 40 ladies coming to have their haircut.”
On how he acquired the skills and experience of the job, Wilson declared that his acumen and readiness to learn made it possible so fast.
He said, “You have to undergo some sort of apprenticeship to become an authority. If you do not learn, you will not really know the job. People just think barbing as a run-of-the-mill vocation; it is a professional job in its own rights.
“I went through apprenticeship while I was in Port Harcourt. Thereafter, I moved to Lagos to continue the learning process. Interestingly, the learning period did not take longer than a year.”
Wilson said his desire to achieve success in the vocation as well as savings from his earnings were the foundation of his salon.
“I started the business with the sum of N200,000. The amount was raised within a period of three years after working as a stylist. I made sure that I saved some part of the money that was coming in. The money was used to take care of rent, furnishing and all necessary tools.
“Of course, there are a handful of challenges affecting this business, some are power supply, location and the unpredictable nature of customers. In my own case, the issue that bothers me most is the poor power supply. We spend more than what we earn on fuel and other maintenance costs of generators. It is really killing. In most cases, we hardly break even.
“We know government is making efforts to get it right. They must act to help businesses such as this to stay afloat. Besides, I think one other critical issue is the area of enlightenment of customers. Oftentimes, we hear them complain about a particular hairdo. I believe that if there is proper education on hairdos, most customers will be better informed. For me, I think there are some kinds of knowledge that must be impacted to customers to assist the vocation,” he said.
For someone who has remained in barbing business for this long, fortune must have smiled on him. Wilson admits that it has been rewarding: “I think I have recordable a great deal of achievements since I established the business. As a matter of fact, the business has offered me the opportunity to meet a lot of people. I am happy that I now live comfortably in my rented apartment. Even though I am not married yet, steps are ongoing to realise that dream.”
Wilson also stated that government should create a platform to encourage the vocation as that such gestures would elicit more interest for the vocation.
He said, “I think government can encourage those involved in this business by introducing a competitive game across the states or country, whereby barbers receive some rewards. By so doing, many more will be lured and begin to see a future in the vocation.
Government should also assist by providing grants to small-scale businesses because even bigger companies still need finance.”
According to Wilson, there are plans to establish Twinnas in several parts of the state. Advising aspiring business owners, he urged them to be focused and imbibe the virtue of perseverance, because such qualities are necessary for success in business.