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KING OF WOMEN

Posted by By MATTHIAS NWOGU, Umuahia on 2008/05/02 | Views: 651 |

KING OF WOMEN


The instinct to survive appears to be breaking the barrier of gender monopoly in some vocations. The females may have started it with the maxim: “What a man can do, a woman can do even better.” So, when Onyema Nwachukwu after leaving secondary school in Kano could not find a job, he decided to earn a living from nail fixing and polishing, a predominantly female vocation. After all, what a woman can do, a man can also do better.

The instinct to survive appears to be breaking the barrier of gender monopoly in some vocations. The females may have started it with the maxim: “What a man can do, a woman can do even better.” So, when Onyema Nwachukwu after leaving secondary school in Kano could not find a job, he decided to earn a living from nail fixing and polishing, a predominantly female vocation. After all, what a woman can do, a man can also do better.

My going into nail business
I would say that it was an opportunity that came and I grabbed it. It was not by design because after my secondary school education, there was no job and going to further my education was not possible because of finance. Knowing that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, I decided to learn it, initially for the fun of it and it was at the Sabon Garri area of Kano. The apprenticeship period was three months and it suited my circumstance. After my training in Kano, I came back home to Umuahia because I observed it was an exclusive area for women unlike in Kano.

The nail business in Umuahia
The number of males in the business here is very small. I decided to make my mark by putting professional touch to my work, so that I can have a good share of the market by doing it better than the females.

Choice of nail colour
Nail fixing and polishing is a delicate art. Colour scheme is an important aspect of it. You need to be versed in colours to be able to choose colours professionally for your clients. It includes pedicure, manicure, nail fixing and polishing. I am into fixing of nails.

Source of raw materials
I go to Kano and Aba to source the materials. I endeavour to ensure I have all the colours, so that anybody who comes here would have the colour she wants.

Other men seeing you in this business
When I came here newly, boys used to gather around me expressing surprise that a man was doing nail fixing. At times, some of hawkers abandon their wares just to look at me. Some women also would make some cynical comments but I was not moved, rather, I enjoyed it.

Acceptance
It was a question of ‘a trial would convince you,’ as some girls who had me fix their nails, told others of my proficiency and before long, I began to have a clientele I could not manage. I soon discovered that most women prefer men to handle their beauty matters. Again, because of the temperament of most women, they prefer men who will pet them when they flare up with their fellow women who would give it back to them, not minding that they are their customers. That is the major advantage I have over my female counterparts. I pet my clients. I exercise patience to explain colours or help them even when they make wrong choices.

Again, women believe that men know what they want in women and so, it is better that the male nail fixer gives them what he feels is good.
One of my customers in a gossip in my boutique once said, “I prefer men because they have manners and are tolerant.” There are harsh women and you need to pet them to give them what they need. Few women can tolerate that. Once you accommodate that harsh or rash behaviour, next time she would come to you.

Attraction and distraction
This is business and I want to build my life on it, so, nothing distracts me. I look at the girls among my clients purely on business relationship, the elderly among them with respect and honour, nothing outside that. If you cave in to their antics, they would be the persons to scandalize you.

Touching the fingers and toes of beautiful ones
Look, once my mind is in business that is where it remains. Nothing attracts me than money. I concentrate on my work and, therefore, have no other feeling. Besides, when a lady comes to you to fix or polish her nails, she has confidence in you that you will not misbehave. If you talk of enticement, yes, some of them deliberately dress to entice, but I am focused. I did not come all the way from Kano to misbehave.

Future plan
I have been in Umuahia for the past one year and with what I am getting, I am not in a hurry to quit. I am planning for expansion. I intend to open a boutique that would include women’s wears, bags and shoes with a section for manicure, pedicure and the nail fixing, which is my area of specialization. I am looking forward to a time when a lady will come into my boutique, she would do all her shopping, make her hair and polish her nails and in a conducive atmosphere too.

Mentor
Emmanuel Ukandu from Isuikwuato is my master and mentor. When I saw him survive on this business in Kano, I had no more reservation to making a career in the business. He is comfortable. I must tell you the truth, when I entered it as an apprentice, I was not really very serious with it initially, but when I discovered that I could depend on it, my attitude changed positively.

The rush
I am very busy. At times, I have a queue. The weekends are exceptionally busy because ladies prepare for parties and ceremonies. The consciousness to be cute is gaining ground, so, many girls are now trendy and you cannot talk of trendness without the nails. The seasons are quite a busy time for us.

Competition
I do not scare people away with price. Once I can make a marginal profit, I am okay. That is also what makes me popular – quality and competitive charges.

Finishing
I use file, scissors, designing brushes and exotic colours. You don’t come into my shop without getting the colours you want. I use file to make adjustments. I can convert artificial nails to natural because you can’t detect it and some of my clients like me for that. It’s just fixing the artificial nails, file it, adjust and bring them to shape, a little patience and an eye for beauty.

I advise on colour because some girls are colour blind. I insist when somebody wants to go colour riot because I wouldn’t want to spoil my image. But there are those who want the colour riot just to be weird and in that case, you do what they want.
We also design the network providers on the nails; so, it could be MTN, Glo, Celtel or Starcom. Some girls are crazy when it comes to the names of these GSM providers.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.