Hair, they say is the beauty of women. I agree but rephrase that “well kept hair is the beauty of all women”. Madam Arewa Lawal, the owner of AREWA PICMAA HAIRCARE CENTRE is a pro when it comes to transforming female’s look with her magic touch on their hair. She just always does it right, I know this because before I met her in person I had heard a lot of good things about her from friends that patronizes her. It was a sunny afternoon when I got to AREWA PICMAA HAIR CARE CENTRE, opposite Government College Ibadan. Madam AREWA LAWAL was busy with a customer’s hair and I loved the final result; that wouldn’t? What really impressed me was the way all her trainees concentrated and was learning as she was making the hair. In this edition of Bosslady, we bring you our interview with her. Enjoy!
IBADANKINISO: Kindly introduce yourself ma?
MADAM AREWA: My name is Arewa Lawal. I am an hair stylist and I started from the grassroots. I have been doing this for a while and I give glory to God for where I am today. I learnt this skill for three and half years instead of the normal one year I was supposed to use; it didn’t bother me that I was an apprentice for too long a time because I wanted to be my best at it.
IBADANKINISO: How long have you been in this business ma?
MADAM AREWA: I have been a hairstylist for 30 years.
IBADANKINISO: Wow, that’s great. Can you please share with us a bit about your career down the line?
MADAM AREWA: After I completed my training, I rented a small shop beside the present shop I use now. Then, the name of my shop was PICMAA HAIR CARE CENTRE which is an acronym for Philomena Itunu Comfort Mobolaji Abike Arewa but later on, my late dad advised me to add AREWA since customers preferred to call me by that name. That’s how I changed the name to AREWA PICMAA HAIR CARE CENTRE fifteen years ago. My late dad of blessed memory also advised me to move to a larger shop after a while; when the previous shop could no longer accommodate my customers. I started out small with few customers, just like every other business enterprise but now I have lot of customers; some who has been patronizing me since the establishment of AREWA and I am so grateful to God.
IBADANKINISO: So can we say your late dad played a crucial role in your profession as a hairstylist?
MADAM AREWA: Oh yes, he did. If there’s any word that can qualify the impact he had on my life than ‘crucial’, I would use it. Though he is late now, but I will be forever grateful. He encouraged me and was very supportive.
IBADANKINISO: What was the turning point in your business?
MADAM AREWA: I would say it was when my son; TOMIWA LAWAL became my business partner in AREWA. He has passion for making hair too and learnt from me. After he graduated, I paid a lot of money just so he can go and take courses in this line and learn hairstyles in vogue. It was after the courses he took he came back with ideas and upgraded AREWA PICMAA HAIR CARE CENTRE. He transformed it physically and also added value to the business. Now AREWA PICMAA HAIR CARE CENTRE doesn’t only deal with hair, we do bridals, pedicure and manicure, make up e.t.c.
I also learnt a lot from him and he helped the business a lot. Being learned, he has also been using social media as a platform to showcase his works and asides from referral; this has also brought a lot of customers to the store. People feel this profession is for females and as it is there are very few males in the business, this is also a plus to the business. Many customers always insist on having his services. He also solely handles bridals.
IBADANKINISO: Is there any challenge in this line of work?
MADAM AREWA: Yes. Is there any profession that doesn’t have challenges peculiar to them?
IBADANKINISO: What challenge or challenges will you say you have been facing?
MADAM AREWA: Well, to me, the challenges are minor I will say and under control. The major challenge in this line of work is that one needs to be updated. Some hairstyles go out of vogue and there are lots of new styles every day, totally different from the ones I learnt way back. The main thing is you need to keep learning, one needs constant upgrade.
Though, I had a major challenge with armed robbers when I first moved to this present place. They kept coming for a while and would break into my shop, but God has taken control.
IBADANKINISO: How has business been so far?
MADAM AREWA: Except I want to be ungrateful, business has been great. That’s what I have been doing all my life, and I live just fine.
IBADANKINISO: Asides from all the services you listed earlier on that you render in AREWA PICMAA HAIR CARE CENTRE, what other thing do you do?
MADAM AREWA: I train people. I have lots of people under me I am training presently. The good thing is that, now this profession has been added to school curriculum, so one can take exams such as NABTEB incase the person wants to travel out; for those that did not or are not planning to go to the university.
We also sell hair kits ranging from attachments, wigs, relaxers, and the likes.
IBADANKINISO: On what days don’t you open AREWA PICMAA HAIR CENTRE?
MADAM AREWA: We open every day, even on Sundays. On Sundays, we open by 12 noon while every other day, we open by 8:00 a.m. On exceptional days such as Thursdays, we open by 10:00 a.m. and last Saturday of the month we open 9:30 a.m. because of environmental. Customers also usually call us to book prior to the days they will come or in case we are not opened. That’s why our telephone numbers are on the signpost outside, just in case customers want to contact us.
IBADANKINISO: Looking round I can see that you are like a mother of many nations; you have a lot of trainees and it will take someone that’s accommodating to deal with many people. What advice do you have for the youths?
MADAM AREWA: My advice for the youth is that they should try and learn a skill; it doesn’t stop them from going to school. It will only add value to their life, and to cap it all, I will say “what is what doing at all, is worth doing well”
IBADANKINISO: Thank you so much for your time ma.
MADAM AREWA: I really appreciate. Thank you too.