Our big breaks often happen in the most unexpected ways and that is the story of Ernestina Emefa Akuwaa Agbley, owner of Akuwaa Locs & Natural Hair Spa, one of the popular natural hair and locks salons in the capital.
After an experience in church 10 years ago led to her cutting all her beautiful permed hair and she had difficulty getting places to style her kinky hair, Akuwaa resorted to braiding her own hair and a business was born out of it.
“ I couldn’t get any salon that could really deal with natural hair at that time and after some disappointment, I started doing it myself and that’s when I thought, hey I could do this as a business,” she told Showbiz in an interview on Monday.
Having made that decision, Akuwaa set about doing research into her new interest, looking at products, tools and styling tips and used herself as a ‘guinea pig’ to check what worked and what didn’t.
She still worked as a Manager at Ghana Telecom’s call centre but when the redundancy resulting from the take over from Vodafone affected her, she firmed her decision.
She used the money she received to rent a shop, bought tools and products and Akuwaa’s Hair Spa located at North Kaneshie was in business.
10 years on, the Spa is one of the go-to places for all things natural hair. Akuwaa is an expert in braids, sisterlocks, dreadlocks cultivation, nurturing, locks maintenance among others. If you want to transition from permed hair to natural hair or dreadlocks, Akuwaa is your girl.
“For instance, if you want to do locks, we can take you through a year’s process which includes braiding, monthly washing appointments, treatments and others until you get what you want.”
Creativity is something this 34-year old woman is big on and she has used it to come up with her own creation known as Nubian Locks which have become very popular. She tells Showbiz it took her a year and two months to come up with it and perfect it. Akuwaa’s also has Tenny Locks, which is another favourite of clients.
If you are a soon to be bride with natural hair and wondering where to go to look amazing on your big day, turn to Akuwaa Hair Spa and you would be well taken care of although she does not offer make-up services.
Akuwaa has her own product line which she uses on her clients hair and she provides it on demand.
She also offers training but on a limited scale although she has plans of eventually opening a training school where she hopes to teach her craft to young women, especially the needy. “I was given this gift freely and I also want to give others the opportunity to learn too.”
Her prices, she says, are reasonable and encourages people to come in and experience their service.
She has an enviable client list which includes people from Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire among others. She also counts among her clients Minister of State in charge of Procurement at the Presidency, Adwoa Safo; Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu, Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey and MP aspirant for Weija-Gbawe constituency, Obuobia Darko-Opoku.
She took up natural hair at a time when it wasn’t even popular and says she is grateful through her many people have transitioned into it and she is encouraging even more people to take it up.
She has some advice for anyone considering starting their own business. “If you believe in something, don’t be afraid to risk it all. I gave this business my all and I invested all my money into it to make sure it survived. Give it your all and it will work out well.”
Akuwaa is married with three children and credits her husband for being supportive and understanding her job and its demands.