From Hustle to Hub: How a Pro Barber is Carving Her Path

by | May 12, 2022 | Brand Stories | 0 comments

I’m a very detailed barber. When hiring, I look out for people who understand that this is a profession. It’s not just about holding a clipper and cutting someone’s hair. You need to be a professional beyond these.


When Gloria Egbonodje set out to become a barber, she was told to try other jobs: catering, makeup, even returning to banking (her former profession). But ‘I like to do things differently,’ Gloria told The Naira Haus in a call. So, she set out on a journey in Barbing and is building ReeyaCutz, a professional barbering hub in Lagos, Nigeria.


What’s your first ever experience with entrepreneurship? 

I sold shoes while working with a bank in 2015.


From banking to barbing. How did that happen? 

To be honest with you, I don’t like doing what everyone else is doing. I’m naturally like that. I like to do things differently. I’d lost my job and was hoping to get another one, but it was taking forever. I was at home for some two years without doing anything. So, I had to think of a skill to learn. 

I was on a low cut at the time and was often interested in what my barbers did with people’s hair. So, I decided to learn about it all, at the same place I got my cuts. 

People around me suggested other skills, like catering and makeup. But those felt too regular. Even the person that taught me said I couldn’t handle it because he had never had a female apprentice and the work is quite stressful — the standing while watching him cut, and confidence to handle someone’s hair because it takes a lot of confidence to handle a clipper and let another man trust you with his hair. So, yea, that’s basically how I started learning.


And how did that lead to ReeyaCutz Barbers Hub?

I was working with a renowned barber’s shop before starting ReeyaCutz, and it was like a hustle zone. There were a lot of barbers and we had to go out and look for clients. We had to go ask people if they wanted to cut their hair, bring them in, then get our commission. That meant standing all through. It meant exhaustion, and I honestly couldn’t keep up. 

So, I started thinking about leaving and opening my spot. It had been my dream for a while, and the stress of that workplace pushed me to start. 


Making moves. What year was that?

July 2020.


Why did you choose the name, Reeya Cutz?

I chose it because it was relatable to my friends and existing clients. It also represents me well.


That’s fair. And I’ve always been curious: How do you decide on styles? Do clients give you ideas or do you provide them with that? 

It’s both ways. A client could bring a photo from Instagram and I’ll suggest a modification or something entirely different if I notice that that style won’t suit their face. Others come without a style in mind and ask for suggestions. It works both ways. I actually like when someone comes in with an idea of what they would like. This way my modifications won’t be so far-fetched from their desire. It makes it even easier for me to do my job. 


Do you have a favorite style of cut?

I’ll say any kind of fade, especially on light-skinned guys. Because when you fade on a light-skinned person, there’s a contrast between the skin tone of the scalp and the hair, especially if the person has dark hair. I love any type of fade; 2 fade, 3 fade, tapers, and all.


ReeyaCutz: female barber in Lagos, Nigeria

Fade Cut by ReeyaCutz.


And how do you approach a haircut? 

I generally like details. So, I center my work around that. When it comes to cutting Fade, for example, I ensure that it blends. That’s one key detail for the fade cut. When it comes to hair designs, my goal is to ensure that the client looks in the mirror afterward and sees what they imagined, or is satisfied with my suggestion. 

I also take note of gender. I focus on making sure that clients get a cut that suits their face and personality.


That’s thoughtful. Do you have a team that supports your work?

I have had several employees come and go and the major challenge is patience to grow with the business. It’s not easy to find an employee or partner who shares your dreams and who is willing to go the extra mile with one’s new business. People aim for barbershops that are already renowned, you know. Barbershops that can pay the bills. And I completely understand them.


What do you look out for when hiring?

I look out for skills, yes. But I also look out for people who understand that this is a profession. It’s not just about holding a clipper and cutting someone’s hair. You need to be a professional beyond these. Very important.

Like I said before, I’m very detailed. So, some barbers with poor skills don’t get it when I call them out for a poor job done. I also look at how well they understand customer service. Some—especially those with a history of working in free barbershops—don’t know how to manage clients. There’s no finesse in the way they talk or run things around the shop. 


Makes sense. Have you ever turned down a client?

No, I haven’t.


Let’s talk about money for a bit. Where did you get the initial capital?

Support from my family plus my savings.


And how do you manage your finances as a business owner?

Well, I’m still at that phase of trying to save, make rent, and pay the one worker that I have. I save through Piggyvest and the bank, where I apportion some money for the day-to-day running of the business—like replacing products I use, power supply, fueling the generator, etc. So, that’s basically what I’m doing for now because my business is only a year old, operating without a grant or something like that. I’m focused on building clientele as I stay afloat.  


Some men say things like “a woman does not touch my hair.” Still, I end up retaining them as clients because, well, I’m a professional


It’s great that you have a system for handling your finances at this stage. Could you tell me about three major challenges you’ve faced in business?

Number one would be trying to get potential clients to know my shop. You know, as a new brand. 

Finance is also an issue, then power supply. My work requires constant power supply, at least to a reasonable degree. So, there are times when the power supply is really messy and I have to run the generator for hours, almost the entire day. And some of my tools don’t work well with the type of generator I have, like the hair steamers and dryers. Then there’s the noise generators make. So, power supply is like a major challenge for most businesses in Nigeria because it’s frustrating.


Do you offer home services?

Yea, I do. But I have my reservations. I’m very selective of where I go because you mostly deal with men in this business. So, I’d rather do offices and family houses than young men’s apartments, unless I’m accompanied by someone. 


I completely understand. Could you tell me about some other challenges you face as a woman in your profession?

Doubt is one. As a woman, I always get doubts from potential clients. I get rejection as well; some men say things like “a woman does not touch my hair.” Still, I end up retaining them as clients because, well, I’m a professional with good work ethics. I know how to connect with them. All of it makes them stay. There’s also the issue of people making passes at me, which is normal, I’m a fine girl lol. But then. 

I knew all about these challenges before going into the business. So, I’m handling it well.


What’s one tool that has helped you a great deal in business?



Which would you say makes a successful business: Luck, money, or hard work?

I’d say the last two, plus grace.




“Dear business owner, please vet the products before you ship it out to your customers or have a QA process that ensures that the Customer gets the right product, in the right condition. Also, please pick a good Delivery personnel.”

- Debbie

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