A Lagos-based female barber, Precious Ogedengbe, popular for giving celebrities, including Davido and Timaya, haircuts, speaks about her journey in a male-dominated vocation
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Ogedengbe Precious. I am from the Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State. I am a Lagos-based barber. I grew up in Abuja but moved to Lagos in 2016.
How old are you?
I am 23 years old.
Did you go to school?
I am currently studying at the National Open University of Nigeria.
What informed your decision to become a barber, considering that it’s a job commonly known with men?
I have always had the passion for hairstyling. Growing up, I had a friend that we both had interest in hairstyling. And I always had the picture in my head that someday I would become a professional barber, styling celebrities, such as actors, footballers, etc. I have been in this line for five years.
There was an online report that you gave popular artiste, Davido, a haircut. How true is that?
Yes, very true, but it was not so recently. I have had the opportunity to give Davido a haircut on several occasions. And he’s not the only celebrity that has patronised me; I have also cut Timaya’s hair as well.
How did you get to meet them?
I met them through referrals from friends.
What was the feeling like for you while giving these celebrities a haircut?
I felt so fulfilled. It is a great joy getting to know celebrities and getting patronised by them because I see it as an opportunity to be a popular brand, it is like dream come true for me.
Where is your shop located?
My shop is located at Oando filling station, Badore Ajah, Lagos.
What has the experience been for you being a female barber?
Well, I have experienced both the good and the bad sides of it. Talking about the bad side, it is about the disadvantage of being a female barber, so many men want to date me and they come under the guise of patronising me. Most of the guys do not really want to cut their hair; their real intention is to approach and ask me out. Some would say, “A fine, sexy girl like you, I want you to come and do home service.” I have been into this business for years and I know how it works, it is your manner of approach that would determine if I am going to render my service to you or not.
But the advantage is that most times people are always excited seeing me cutting their hair. I have people that whenever they come to my salon, they always want me to be the one cutting their hair. So far, so good, this business made me gain lots of respect. I love what I do in terms of making people look good and happy.
What was your parents’ reaction when you decided to be a barber?
When I came to Lagos, my intention was to work and save up, so I could go to the university. I worked in a supermarket and also worked at a bar. I was staying with my aunt but she threw me out at a point because we were having issues. She said she wasn’t comfortable accommodating me and two other girls. The journey wasn’t easy; I had to save up to get my own apartment after a friend of mine accommodated me.
It was while working at a local bar that I met a guy, who is a barber in Lekki. We became friends. I told him I had passion for hairstyling and I had always wanted to learn. He encouraged me to pursue it and took me to his workplace. I went there to make enquiries and that was how I moved from Bariga to Lekki Phase 1.
I went home to see my mum in Edo State; I told her I was into hairstyling business in Lagos. Initially, she thought it was hairdresser business, so she jokingly said that I would be the one to start making her hair. I told her unless she wanted to cut her hair, explaining to her I am into hair cutting. She was shocked and she didn’t like it. My mum and my family members frowned at it, at first. They tried discouraging me because they never liked the idea. They wondered why of all vocations, I chose to be a barber, which is meant for guys.
But I was able to convince my mum that where I was working is a standard barbing salon and people pay so well. In fact, some of my family members came to Lagos to see where I was working. At the end of the day, my mum (though dead now) and my family members accepted me for who I am.
Do you own a barbing salon now?
Yes, I opened my own salon in October 2019. But before then, I had lots of people trying to discourage me. They said starting a salon can be expensive, etc. I later moved to Badore. It was rough in the beginning.
What has been your most beautiful experience in this journey so far?
Fine, I am not where I want to be yet but so far so good, I have achieved some beautiful things, at least. I own a car wash too, where my shop is located and I have four staff members at the car wash and another four barbers working in my salon. I am so excited that I am not only doing well for myself but I can employ people who also provide for their families.
What are your biggest dreams?
I want to be a travel barber, not just making money but I want to explore the world, go on tours, meeting and giving influential people nice and unique haircuts. I want to collaborate with hair products brands because currently I don’t have anyone I am collaborating with.
Are your charges based on the customer’s status?
Not at all, it is same charges for all customers, including celebrities, except where the customer decides to pay me extra. But I charge more than other barbers, like N2,000 difference, because I work based on appointments.
What was Davido’s reaction the first time he patronised you?
He loved it; he was satisfied that he had to post me on his social media pages.
Did he come to your salon or was it home service?
It has always been home service.
Did giving Davido a haircut boost your business?
It has had lots of positive influence on my business, to be sincere; it made me popular on social media after he posted me on his Instagram page; even Chioma posted me on her Instagram story then; I was getting lots of traffic on my Instagram page.
My account got so many followers, and the videos of me cutting Davido’s hair is still trending, that whenever people see me out there, they do say “Are you not the lady who gave Davido a haircut?” It really helped me and gave me exposure. I love hairstyling so much.