Persons Of Interest: June Akinyi

If you currently asking yourself “Who the heck is that” then you are at the right place. She is Kisumu’s ‘celebrity hair stylist’ making the women of this town look stunning with amazing hair styles.

Her love for braiding hair which started from childhood, her hard work and consistency have taken her from being just another salonist to be the most sought after stylist in town especially when it comes to braided hair. She spoke to us about her journey.

Why do you call it “hair art?”

Making people look beautiful to me is an art and talent not a skill. Every time I touch a client’s hair it’s like a painter with his canvas, paint and painting brushes. Every stroke the painter makes is just like every swing my hands take on my client’s hair or braids.

I have always loved art and if I wasn’t doing what I am doing today I would probably be creating some different form of art somewhere. I love looking at my canvas – women’s heads and loving the final product. To me it’s more of the passion for what I do than the cheque at the end of a work well done.

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“To me a woman’s head is like a painter’s canvas.” PHOTO: Courtesy

How did you settle on hair art as opposed to other forms of art?

I grew up an orphan, that meant I did not have a lot of luxuries around me. When kids played with dolls I played with grass. I enjoyed plaiting grass. In Primary school I plaited my colleagues and estate kids’ hair during weekends and school holidays and earned myself a little pocket money. I did the same in High School.

After school I got a job at a salon in Langata and I learnt a lot from my boss then. It was sort of ‘on the job  training.’ My biggest break though was when I went for a modeling audition at the Kenya National Theater.  I was lucky enough to get a gig as a model for various brands. while doing that Ashleys Beauty College used to make our hair, I befriended some of the staff who taught me a few things because I could not afford the tuition fees.

Life in Nairobi was a little expensive and the competition there was stiff for starters like me so I moved to Kisumu which was smaller and I knew it would be easy for me to build a name here.

How much investment have you made in your art to become who you are today?

Passion is what drives me but passion alone can only take you so far. I did not study hair design or fashion but I was good at it so I decided to go to school and study something else that would propel me further.

I saved some money from my first job in Kisumu and enrolled for a Diploma in Public Relations class at Kenya Institute of Management. I also studied  a bit of Computer Application packages, skills that would be very necessary as I drive my passion into a profitable business.

I saved enough money as well and now I own my own beauty palour at Kisumu’s Mini Mall. I give back by training young girls on hair art and I hope they will also grow as I did.

How are you re-inventing yourself to stay ahead in your game?

My biggest selling point is that to me this is an art not a skill…it’s talent and I exploit my creativity to the fullest coming up with unique hair designs for my clients.

I have embraced technology when it comes to marketing my services. I have a vibrant online presence on Facebook and Whatsapp – some of the things I learnt from my PR Classes.

Now that I own my own place I am moving into becoming a major distributor of beauty products.

Lastly, I just started writing. Yesterday my first ever piece on hair art was posted by one of Kisumu’s most read blogs. To me these are some ways of keeping myself in my client’s faces, winning new clients and revolutionizing how this business is done in Kisumu.

We celebrate ordinary people doing extra ordinary things here on “Huku Kisumu” if you know anyone we should feature as a person of interest, kindly let us know.

Follow me on Twitter @IamOminde

 

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