Many Nigerian university students today for many reasons take up a part time job or run a business alongside their studies. And though it might seem difficult to balance both work and school, it certainly is possible with good planning and time management as many young people attest to. Abosede Alice Obateru is one of such people. Abosede is a 300 level student of the University of Lagos and is also a beautician. She has made it her business of making people beautiful and she is doing well at it. How she combines her work with her school? Well you have to find out in this interview where she bares it all.
Correspondence by Kikelomo Onigbanjo.
My name is Abosede Alice Obateru. I am a graduate of Federal College of Education (Technical) Akoka. I am currently running a degree in Economics in University of Lagos; I am in 300 level now. On the side, I am a beautician. I specialise in hair, manicure, pedicure, fixing of nails, eye lashes and wigs of different types.
I am not married yet. I have three brothers and parents.
Where is your saloon located?
I do not have a saloon for now; I am still working for someone, but very soon I will open my own saloon, probably when I graduate. I will come out in a big way.
What prompted you to be a beautician?
When I left secondary school, I wrote JAMB several times, but could not gain admission. I got tired. Meanwhile I was already making hair for people on the low, so I knew I was quite good at it. I decided to go and learn the trade head on. It is always good for someone to have at least one thing you can do with your hands. I also decided to be a beautician so that I can be self-reliant. I am the one sponsoring my education now not because my parents can’t afford it, but because I want to sponsor myself.
How has the experience as a beautician been so far?
Hmmmmmm… the experience has not been easy, being a beautician is stressful. You have to stand from morning till night when making hair; especially when it’s braids. We beauticians are the ones most susceptible to waist pain. When doing manicure and pedicure, we are the ones endangered to hot water and even some of the chemicals we use are harmful to the health; but all in all I enjoy what I’m doing so I cannot complain much.
As a beautician, do you think Nigerian women take care of themselves?
Yes, Nigerian women are beauty conscious. It is evident from the amount of clients I work for in a day. I see a minimum of six women in a day with different beauty requests. I think Nigerian women are naturally beautiful, so they make our work so easy.
What challenges have you faced since you started this work?
The only challenge I have for now is that I don’t have a salon yet. I am still freelancing and I find it difficult to find a venue to make hair or even do manicure and pedicure. That is why I encourage my clients to do home service and I don’t charge them extra. Sometimes I tell them to come to my house or I borrow a friend’s shop, though I don’t really like doing that.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself in the next five years having a very big shop. I see myself being one of the top beauty consultants in this country and I see myself making it big.
You obviously have a lot on your plate. How do you combine all of this and school?
What will I do? I find a way to merge everything together. I attend lectures in the morning and I try to read a bit before coming home. Whenever I have a client, I find a way to convince them to use my free time to attend to them or I go to see them in the evening when I am back from school.
What advice do you have for people who want to go into this kind of business?
Well, I would advise them to be determined. I was determined to do well in this thing instead of wasting my time at home waiting for the government to feed me. I will also advise them to make sure they have at least a secondary education. Education is key.
How do you unwind?
That is a tough one… I try to let my hair down as much as possible. I club once in a while. I hang out with friends sometimes and if I’m partying, I party hard.
Thank you for your time
You are welcome.