Hair stylists hit fortune at WAHL barbers’ contest
By Ola Kehinde-Balogun
Recently, dozens of barbers converged on Ikoyi in Lagos. The event was this year’s edition of the annual WAHL Show. It was the 24th edition of the annual barbering contest.
Many barbers had assembled at the venue with their equipment and other necessary tools needed to participate in the barbering contest. The select contenders were each given a small space in the hall to set up a mini barber’s shop. With the aim of assessing the efficacy of the displayed equipment, the event organisers, Jgreen Mbadiwe and Sons, emphasised on the required level of hygiene that must be upheld in the business of hair-cut. Many speakers took turns to give business advice and exhortation to the haircut practitioners on how best to achieve a growing business.
Africa’s regional manager of Wahl Clippers at the event, Pop Thomas, who said he had been attending the contest for the past 24 years, said the business of hair-cut had grown tremendously in the country. He said he was proud at the level of entrepreneurial development that barbers had embraced over the years.
His words: “There is no such thing as bad economy for barbers, because once someone’s hair outgrows its ideal shape, he would have to go for shaving.”
Thomas charged barbers to maintain a high level of decorum in ensuring well-appraised human relations with customers. This way, he said, a barber could be sure of increased patronage and business enlargement.
“Barber’s shop has grown to become quite interactive. The more you socialise with your customers, the larger your clientele list grows. You must know your customers quite well, know his taste, want, desires and what pleases him, especially his haircut style. You must just grow a viable relationship with every customer that comes your way. If you do this, your customers will search for you anywhere you move to,” he advised.
Thomas, who commended the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) for being on its toes against counterfeited goods and products in the country, criticised those who purchased fake clippers because of its low price.
“Fake clippers have many ills that are too dangerous to imagine. Apart from the fact that in the end, you do not get value for your money, one of the dangers is that a fake clipper could electrocute both the barber and the customer. It is not safe to purchase fake clippers at all,” he warned.
According to chairman of the event, Chief Wole Adeyinka, barbers must not look down on themselves. They are in a business that could, if well managed, help them become employers of labour and achieve good financial independence for themselves, he added.
Another speaker and pharmacist, Mrs. Ifeoma Ofordile, cautioned the barbers to embrace a high standard of hygiene in their practice. She urged them to always sterilise their tools and equipment before using same on another person. She said a healthy customer would always come back for more service while a customer, who contracts hair-related disease from his barber is obviously a lost point.
She said: “It is very ideal and ethical for barbers to thoroughly sterilise every of their equipment before they use it on anyone. I implore our barbers here to make use of sterilising machines even after this competition. It will grow their business and help them to be in business. We cannot overemphasise the dangers involved in unsterilised equipment or dirty environment. The barber’s cover cloth must be kept clean always and his hands washed thoroughly. His office or shop, if you like, should be kept tidy at all times. A good barber cannot negotiate the cleanliness in his environment.”
According to the organiser of the event, Chief Victor Mbadiwe, only good values mixed with requisite skills could turnaround the fate of any business. He implored the hair stylists present to remain creative and skilful in their job of hair beautification. He charged them to remain focused and determined to succeed in life.
According to him: “Limit not yourself in life. Be exposed, read books and learn the value of honesty and hard work. Participate in a contest like this and learn new things. With all these, the sky would be your limit. In 24 years, we have grown entrepreneurs in the haircut business. They now have their own shops, with many trainees under them. In a contest like this, we would also subsidise certain equipment for you with the intent of ensuring you get exposed to up-to-date facility. For example, you all know that multifunctional ‘e-teller clipper’ is sold for about N30,000. Here, we would give it to you at N10,000, and lots of other benefits like this.”
Many barbers attended the WAHL Show 2016, even as they got engaged in a contest for cash prizes and other awards being doled out by the organisers of the show. In no time, after the stage was declared open, many demo barbers’ shops sprang up, and the competition commenced. With prizes of N100,000, N75,000 and N50,000 for the winner and runners up, the contenders displayed their haircut skills, neatness in the shops, and equipment handling ability, among other criteria emphasised by the panel of judges.