Not all hair braids are created equal.
Nie’Des Hair and Beauty Salon at the Plaza want to add something fresh and new to Apia. They now offer professional braiding at their establishment.
Gina brought in hairdresser and braiding extraordinaire, Juney Sami, to offer a service that’s not commonly offered in Samoa, but is gaining in popularity as Juney’s clientele is building up after a few short weeks.
“I wanted to bring in braiding because it’s different, no one else is doing that here,” said Gina. “We are trying to bring American influenced hair styles and bring overseas services in because why can’t we have them here, we don’t need to wait to go to Hawaii to get them.”
Juney, 25, is all about hair and at 16 years old, left school in order to pursue training at the Servilles Hairdressing Academy in Auckland.
“I had a home business before I came here. I studied at Sevilles where I did a hairdressing course in 2009. Hairdressing was always what I wanted to do.”
“I started braiding two-three years ago because I used to always go get my hair braided. I just fell in love with it so I just started out by doing my brothers and my sisters and I became a professional at it. I just fell in love with braiding.”
According to Juney, her clientele are mostly male. He adds with proper maintenance and care, braids could last up to three months.
Convenience and having an interesting diverse look are some of the main reasons people seek out professional braiding. In New Zealand and Australia, professional braiding can cost up to $300 and you’re looking at a couple of hours sitting in the chair.
“There are corn rows and box braiding. Those are the main types of braiding that people are after. Over in New Zealand, it’s like the new style and for some people it’s just easier to have their hair in braids.”
“From my experience because I have worn braids, it’s so much easier to do your hair and it’s a really nice look.”
Owner, Gina Mahkwan Tavita, said she had bought the salon in December 2017 to fulfill a childhood dream of hers. She started off with a business that had virtually no clientele and was in much need of rebranding and a clean slate.
Needless to say, it was a bit of a rough beginning but according to her, they are finally getting into a comfortable position by attracting new clients with new services.
“When I was little, this is what I did on my dolls but I just never thought of owning a salon, but here I am now I’m doing this,” Gina said.
“At first it was slow. When I took over, it hardly had any clientele and we had to start from scratch in rebranding it and shaping it to what it is now. We started building it bit by bit.”
Being in the central business district, she is learning the habits and rituals of her immediate market and has adjusted their hours to suit the working professionals in the area.
“It’s just more convenient and ideal for them before they go to work, which is why we open at 8am every day, it’s busy with people wanting to get their hair done for business meetings. Even if I didn’t own a hair salon, that’s what I would want, a hair salon that will open at that time so I can get my hair done and start fresh at work.”
Gina also owns Nie’Des Designs, a clothing and fashion boutique in the same plaza.