Young women have continued to thrive in businesses that are typically viewed to be male-dominated by taking up jobs that have previously been left for men in society in order to earn a living.
Susan Ombui, a young woman in Kisii town, is one of the women who has taken up the challenge by venturing into a barbershop business that is mostly run by men in the town.
The 22-year old said that she developed an interest in the business three years ago while working as a beautician at a local salon where she would occasionally shave children who visited her place of work.
“When I first came to Kisii town in 2019, I was employed as a beautician but always felt the urge to learn more about hairdressing. As a result, I developed new skills from the barber who was stationed at the salon whenever he allowed me to shave the children,” she says.
Ombui notes that her journey into business started after completing her secondary school studies and failing to enroll for higher education due to financial constraints being that she was an orphaned together with her elder brother.
She says that after completing her secondary education, she travelled to Nairobi and stayed with her brother where she got interested in general beauty and hairdressing while learning about plaiting hair from beauticians around her neighbourhood.
Ombui says that through her income from working in different beauty shops within Nairobi and Kisii, she was able to establish her own barbershop in 2021 with Sh50, 000 that catered for rent and basic equipment for the shop.
The barber points out that she earns at least Sh1,000 on a daily basis and charges a single customer Sh100 for her services.
Before starting her own barbershop, Ombui admits that she was uncertain whether the business would flourish given that she was new in the market.
The barber, who runs her business alone, also notes that it is difficult to keep up with the growing number of customers and sometimes her clients are forced to wait for the services.
She adds that some of the new customers usually doubt her skills and ability to deliver different styles because most men were not used to being attended to by women in the barber industry.
Despite these challenges, Ombui says she has been able to acquire repeat customers and this has encouraged her to continue appreciating her unique skills.
Similar to other businesses, the barber notes discipline and good customer service have enabled her to gain more customers since every customer has to be dealt with in a gentle manner to avoid errors that may occur during hair styling.
“So far, I have only seen three women who are barbers and would encourage women to try the business as long as they like it. I would also wish to employ ladies in my barbershop when my business grows to encourage and show them that women can manage the business as well,” she concludes.