In the boom years of between 2013 and 2017, Style Fair made much wealth from wigs making. The business in a 3 by 4 square meter-size shop at the Agbado area of Lagos state made between N250,000 to 490,000 is revenue from making hair wigs and wig caps, an alternative hair cap for ladies. With the financial fate of very many hair salons in coronavirus’ clutches and the economic downturn of many Nigerians, sole owner of the salon, Bridget Ikega said she now makes an average of 150,000 in a month. That is enough to pay the rent of the salon and her two staff.
A wig is a head or hair accessory made from human hair, animal hair, or synthetic fiber. Some people wear wigs to disguise baldness; a wig may be used as a less intrusive and less expensive alternative to medical therapies for restoring hair or for a religious reason
In spite the current state of the economy, many hairdressers say making of hair wigs or natural hair is still a money-spinning entrepreneurial venture. Abuja based Mrs loveth Harris says as a lone wig maker, she makes between N30,000 and N70,000 monthly from the business. That is far above monthly salaries of many white-collar workers in Nigeria. In Nigeria, the minimum wage for public workers is N30,000, a rate labour union is now re-negotiating with the authorities. It is worse in the private sector where a married university graduate with years of experience gets N40,000 to N50,000 as monthly salary.
Hair wig making is a million-dollar industry across the globe. In Nigeria, it provides an estimated 500,000 direct jobs. It is a trade for men and women. Some ladies find wig caps to be advantageous as a protective barrier to their scalp. Particularly for ladies with total hair loss, a wig cap can protect a sensitive scalp that can become irritated from a wig being worn directly on the head. As a result, wig caps can make wig-wearing more comfortable.
The artificial hair make in the form of wigs comes in various forms and sizes, with highly cosmetically woven styles. For instance, there is all Back Cornrows. Cornrows are a classic braided hairstyle. There is also Shuku. The ‘shuku’ is a braided ponytail that has been around for ages in Nigeria, long before it became popular in mainstream America and Asia. Other types include, Clap, Single Braids, Goddess Braids, Two Braid Pigtails, Zigzag Braids and Side Didi. They all have different prices. The monetary value of a make is dependent on the quality of the hair, time consumption and artistic requirements.
“I don’t have fix price for it because each type of wig cap has its own price,” said Braimoh. Apart from the earlier factors that influence the price of each wig for customers, Mrs Harris told us that prices are also fixed based on physical assessment of a customer. “Some people come and tell you they don’t have much.so we make it according to their pocket. While some are capable and able to pay any amount we charge them,” she said.
The lucrative nature of the trade is attracting more artisans to its fold. Even the employed are resigning to make wealth from hair making. Emmanuel Braimoh, a former hotel staff in Abuja told our reporter that he had to quit his meager earnings as hotel attendant to become a hairdresser, specializing in natural hair and wig making. He now makes up to N100,000 monthly from producing five wig caps daily from his N15,000 rent per month shop in Utako market, Abuja. He told our reporter that he has been into the business for four years. “It’s a money-making venture, honestly,” he said.
Blessing Benjamine, another specialist in the trade could not agree less with Braimoh. She said “It is great because it is profitable.”