Barbershops have come a long way since time immemorial in our lower primary school years when we used to go for a haircut for just sh.10/- .How did my barber (forgot his name) recoup his investments then? He was this calm and collected gentleman who commonly had a respectful smile and a gentle appeal, spoke less and was easy on everybody and just a likeable guy. He seemed to be a very reliable husband then and now. I happened to bump into him late last year still on the grind, trimming men’s hair and earning a living out of it. Nothing short of two and a half decades of experience. Under his watch, he has seen all sorts of voodoo hairstyles emerge and fade away, resurrect and get chocked out by more weird ones. But there are those reserved ones that hardly change and perhaps will never change normally for the formal looks. I’m sure he struggles with the younger generation’s demands where new hairstyles crop up every time the sun rises. Anyway, this chap was my barber from Standard One to my maiden years in High school where I grew new acquaintanceship and passion for longer hair. Haha. There is something about high school boys and unkempt hairs. Mine wasn’t shaggy though. Speaking of which, it is wrong for guys to have unkempt hair after high school. It has a way of seeming unbecoming and disturbing especially when one also attempts to sag his pants in all these mess.
Where was I…..
Back to the sh.10/- haircut. It made sense then. You know why? It was during the Moi era just before the economy took a beating from the Goldenberg Scandal. With a ten bob, you could go for two separate four hours movies each, complete with a taste of the humorous DJ Afro bits and wits. You could also buy half a loaf of bread if you had an appetite for eating. That was 10/- bob for you. I’m I that old? Gosh!
Barbershops have leapfrogged Salon innovations and investments over the years but not until now. Hairdressers and salon entrepreneurs have continuously pumped in money and high end facilities to the much delight of their targeted clientele. Meanwhile, barbershops have taken it slow, stubborn to change and hugely unbothered by miles taken by their sisters – Salon.
This has changed though, in the last few years. Budding young entrepreneurs who understand the dynamics of the evolving politics of men hair (Sounds awkward) have recouped handsome returns. Contemporary man is sensitive and doesn’t care if he is referred to as Metrosexual. All he cares for is his opinion and taste in a barbershop be considered and respected. And not just for the haircut, he doesn’t mind a facial, a little of head massage and a bit of rubbing his neck and shoulders. The truth of the matter is, he is willing to spend for this kind of services.
This reminds me of Shemas my veteran barber in this side of Nanyuki. Early last year he introduced the so called Facial services but funny enough, there was no lady to offer them. Being a typical kuyu, he was to do it himself. He miserably failed to convince many of us that he could do a facial on my not so friendly face. I couldn’t stomach a man doing facial on a fellow man. It’s just not right, Shemas. I’m Sorry. The whole escapade of feeling a man’s hands all over my face is disturbing and could easily make me puke. Kidding though! But you get my point? Right? Thank you.
That said, I had a chit chat with a high school comrade who is a lawyer by profession and on the side, runs a well oiled and impressive barbershop. The next time you drive to Kinoo (to buy a ka – plot or visit the in laws), pull off at Simbara Plaza and look out for Stunn Barbers. In here I’m told they revolutionise your shaving experience and refine your stunning looks. This friend by the name Stann doesn’t look a day older after 25 and unlike peers his age who only fantasize on club hopping and many nights of drinking their salos, Stann looks to be doing well in his hustle.
He has embraced social media to market his services very aggressively and going by my interview with him, he loves what he does. To him, it’s a dream accomplished. For the record, he has pumped in sh.800k for the business which offers Haircuts, Texturizing, Facial Therapy, Manicure, Pedicure, Body massage, Body scrub and lots of other services. At Stunn Barbers you can also buy a Service voucher as a gift to your loved one for all sorts of services offered here. You will also enjoy free WIFI.
And like many other contemporary barbershops, it’s not just open for men. Women troop too for massage and pedicures which is a good thing. Well invested barbershops have poached many salon-would-be-clients which shows the coming of age of the barber industry. Okay, Stann didn’t pay me to advertise his hustle on this space but he impressed me with his quest to address expectations from men on having an amiable experience when they go for the hair cut.
I’m always dazzled when I stumble on young people doing big in their hustle and believing in their passions. And you can identify them by the footprints they leave on social media streets. The other day I walked in to an acquaintance to seek some services and gather advice on some projects coming up soon Inshallah! I was greatly encouraged by the level of optimism in his eyes and the cut of his suit. See, this was a guy who quit from a fairly doing well bank to go and pursue his dreams. I asked him why he quit while he seemed to be earning a well negotiated salary compounded by hefty pension schemes and plus other non disclosed benefits? He told me he was scared of comfort zones and the lack of fulfilling his full potentials. I got the drift. The moment you take a risk of resigning to self employment, it takes enough guts and conviction of oneself. You have to save enough to take you through for a year or so. And there you go, having done your research meticulously, you’ll enjoy the ride. Of course it will be naive to imagine you will be the cherry at the top. However, if navigated carefully the returns can be rewarding.
This brings me to another point put across by one celebrated CEO – Julius Kipng’etich in a forum I happened to have attended. That, what you should crave most for in life, is to have FREEDOM. Look, with freedom comes time to look back, examine yourself and just pursue you passions. In most of employment life whether in blue chip firms in Westlands or for casual labourers in Industrial Area; they all have one thing in common – lack of freedom. You see, earning a salary without investing it is akin to shooting yourself at the foot. It confirms you are only a lame duck burning hours in the office unfamiliar with your real self, your full potentials and what you’re curved to do. So, for the few or many of you who are your own bosses, in actual sense are laying foundations for success. I strongly believe, you can never go wrong with self employment if well researched.
Just the other day, I was telling Kageshi how most of the Top 40 under 40 men and women, are either entrepreneurs or CEOs working day in day out to chase their personal dreams and along the way, drag you and I (The employed) to help them attain their goals. But what about our goals? In my community there is an idiom that says; Ukuru uriaga wethe – Old age is financed by what you saved/invested in your youthful years.
The question is, do we ever think of life in old age, dear #TeamYOLO?