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Namibie Hair salons brace for business boom in Namibian capital

Economie et Finances

Xinhuanet | | Commenter |Imprimer

It is a Friday afternoon. There is an exhilarating energy in Eveline Street in the Greenwell Matongo, a Township in Namibia's capital Windhoek. The street is packed with a mix of businesses, ranging from small-goods shops, car workshops, bars, churches, car washes, man-made stalls and homes.

Although bars dominate the street, the mushrooming hair salon trade is hard to miss and overlook. Every fourth set up is a hair salon, with a structure uniquely made out of card board or concrete structures and some erected with corrugated zinc.

Hair dressing has become big business in the street especially among rural-urban migrants, capitalizing on the city's trendy women's desire for a new look at cheaper rates. Windhoek's population now stands at 322,500, according to the latest census population report by the National Planning Commission of Namibia.

"When I moved to Windhoek I struggled to find a job. I figured that Eveline Street was becoming a center for business. In partnership with a friend, we set up this hair salon to maximize on the daily unprecedented rush and crowdedness of this street," said Hilma Shikongo, a hairdresser in Eveline Street.

Less than a meter distance from Shikongo's business is another hair salon, made out of corrugated zinc. A lady sits at the entrance facing the street.

"I need to sit outside and be on the lookout for potential clients. They might just pass by to other hair salon. And I lose out." Salmi Nande told Xinhua.

Inside the hair salon, two of her partners are attending to clients. "We share the space, which we rent for 400 Namibian dollars monthly to the plot or land owner on which we built our salon," Nande explained.

Like Shikongo, Nande and her partners have also registered their hair dressing business as a corporative with the Windhoek Municipality. "We received a trading license, which permits us to work from here," Nande said.

On a good day Shikongo said that she makes between 600 to 1000 Namibian dollars (75 to 115 U.S. dollars). "But some days I makes as little as 80 Namibian dollars," she added.

"But it gets better when you establish a network of clients. They can be loyal and business booms thereafter," said Nande.

While the business venture comes with a great market share for the hairdressers, the challenges are unavoidable.

A look around, observably, an electrical extension cords from a brick/ concrete home behind the hair salon connects the hair salon to illicit electrical power. "It's the only way we will make it in business," said Nande.

"Also, we have resorted to basins to wash the clients' hair. We later dispose the water into the nearby bushy area. In town, salons have modern facilities, electricity and water connections to sinks and drains. This works against us. Clients sometimes opt for town as the facilities are better," Nande added.

Nevertheless, as luck would have it for the hairdressers, many ladies and clients are in for bargain prices as hair salons in Eveline Street are far cheaper than those in town. "Prices here are cheaper than in the central business district. For hair extensions, in town I would have paid 190 to 200 Namibian dollars. I only paid 80 dollars here. And they do it just as good like hair salons in town," said Mekondjo Jekonia, a regular customer of the hair salon in Eveline Street.

Meanwhile, in a tough and competitive zone, the hair entrepreneurs have since innovatively incorporated lifestyle services such as nail care and treatments to achieve, making it hybrid business to achieve an economical edge.

"I learned how to do nails and offer pedicure and manicure treatments. When we become short of clients who wants a new hair- do, we profit from those looking for nails treatments and French tips," said Shikongo.

"We also sell hair products such as wings, braids, relaxers and moisturisers," said Nande conclusively.

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