Brothers seize moment with new barbershop

A mix of unexpected circumstances led two brothers to open a new business at Nono’a in Saleimoa.

The opening of the Futialo Barbershop was celebrated on Monday.

In an effort to help their family and village and spurred on by circumstances arising from the state of emergency, two siblings with talents for wielding scissors decided to start a new business in their own village.

Ueta and Ueni Futialo told the Samoa Observer their goal was to expand their business into town. 

“First of all we’re just grateful to the man above for all his guidance in giving us the strength and positive thoughts to continue this work because to be honest, we’re also surprised ourselves that we can put up this business,” Ueta said. 

“We’re just starting from here in this small house and hopefully, our plans to expand to Apia become successful.”

Monday’s opening was led by their Pastor of the Worship Center but only very few people were able to celebrate due to state of emergency restrictions. 

Ueta is the elder of the pair;  he lives in New Zealand and is only visiting Samoa temporarily. He was among the passengers on an Air New Zealand plane who were released from two weeks of compulsory quarantine at St. Therese’s earlier this month. 

He is now left with no means of leaving Samoa but says he is taking advantage of that opportunity to help his family and the fledgling business.

“I’m leaving all these [responsibilities] to my younger brother when I return to New Zealand,” he said.

The younger brother of the pair, 20-year-old Ueni, said he was eager to begin life as a young entrepreneur while also starting a family. 

Despite not finishing school, he is happy with the small milestones he says he has already notched up in his young life. 

He has been a barber for years and says that, as a teenager without school qualifications, he had no option but to choose the career, 

But Ueni said he had a natural knack for cutting hair; a skill, he says, that runs in the family. 

The brothers’ initially planned to officially open their business later but with the loss of jobs and income around the country coinciding with the lockdown and Ueta unexpectedly being left with no option to stay in Samoa they decided to seize the moment and open sooner

For Ueni the business’ opening followed his being laid off from another barbershop. 

“I think it’s the perfect opportunity to plant some taro before leaving my family again and putting this small business up,” Ueta said.

But as for their first day’s trade, the Futialo barbershop had welcomed a total of seven customers - something the brothers said were promising beginnings. 

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