As the Ugandan elite women continue to embrace the art of good and expensive hair and wigs, many entrepreneurs have engaged in the business to bring authentic and affordable hair closer to them.
Among those is Ugandan born UK based 28-year old Brenda Atai, a hair fanatic who took her passion into business before making her own hair line dubbed ‘Miss Atai.’
Born in Bukedea, Brenda is the only child of her parents after they separated only for her mother to migrate to United Kingdom for a better pasture before relocating with her.
“I was the only kid that my mum had with my father before she broke up with him to finally move abroad. My mother left me with my grandmother first, before picking me up. That’s how I ended up staying in UK,” she told Chimpreports.
This forced her to attain her education in UK although she didn’t attain a university degree because her focus was how to make money.
Being the only kid, Brenda learnt hair designing and styling at a tender age hence becoming a designated free hair stylist for her entire family.
The black beauty who recently launched her hair line in Uganda, met up with Chimpreports’s Shamim to discuss her passion for business, personal life and finding love.
From a small hair stylist to a business woman, what has been your inspiration?
I have always loved good hair, I wouldn’t mind if I have make up on or not, but with bad hair, my whole day is ruined. It all begun in 2010 when I first bought my Brazilian hair, by that time that hair was for the elite and rich class but I saved for months to make sure I acquired one.
When I saw how long the hair lasted, I started to value good hair, I never turned back. My friends always came to me to ask where I buy my hair from and I thought about the idea of me retaining the money and the clients. That’s how I started sourcing the hair before making a website.
I went to several manufactures online and at a certain point, I felt like giving up but I knew what I wanted and at some point,I got genuine suppliers from china.It has been costly but worth it.
And by November 2018, I had decided that I wanted to venture into hair and I was willing to give it my all.
Where do you get the money to fund your business?
I have a full time job where I recover house hold tax and I do it at home. I have always been working since I was sixteen and I learnt how to save. So what I earn is what I invest in the business.
Ohh!Thats great, how do you balance your job and this hair business?
I work at home by the way, for eight hours and during my break I source for my hair and check out anything concerning hair online. I hope someday to reduce on the working hours and concentrate more on my business.
How did your Mother react when she knew that you are venturing into a hair Business?
As an African mother she thought I was joking and wondered how I am wasting my money. She really didn’t understand that hair was something I was devoted to, but I don’t blame her because she wants the best for me. She however supports me as long as I won’t interrupt her by asking for money.
With the competition that is building up in Uganda, how are you planning to match it?
I think I am more informed than most of them being that I use a lot of the internet than them and I work with professional stylists from the Caribbean who hand make the wigs. There are things that I can provide that most of them can’t access.
I think it’s about royalty at the end of it all, whoever gives you the best quality should be kept close. I want repeat customers not to come and go so whoever stays is better and all I want is to make them happy.
It seems you are always a busy person, do you have a personal life outside work?
I do, although I like being alone most of the times. After work I am always at the gym or watching a movie or a documentary.
I feel like business deserves most of my time.
Are you in a relationship?
I was dating someone and we broke up towards the end of last year because we all had different dreams but we are still friends. I have dreams of making my name known across east Africa which means I have to work a lot and which scares away most men.
By the way men fear independent women but I don’t care a man who will be intimidated by success or passion. I believe the right one will come at their own time.
Isn’t your Mother complaining that age is catching up with you?
She does because she says she doesn’t want me to devote so much in my work and forget about that life. She had the same life, she gave most of her time to working and forgot about the other side of life and by the time she woke up, it was too late.
You know during my previous relationships I lost a lot of time because I was destructed with him. I don’t want to lose anything anymore.
How many customers do you get in a day and how much do you expect to earn in future?
As per now, we are still growing but in future I believe I will get what I invested. I wish to get at least three to four customers a week and for now, I haven’t gotten many and since I am the only one who works on the website and since I am in Uganda, it’s hard to make orders and deliver but with time, I will sort it out.
Which future plans do you have for Miss Atai?
That’s why I called it Miss Atai because I want to venture in all things hair related, from eye lashes to hair glue
Do you ever listen to any Ugandan music?
Yes, I have always listened to radio and weasel, and of late I have liked John Blaq, Eddy Kenzo, Sheebah and some Divine B.
Any Advice To Youth planning To venture into Business
Passion should always come first before money and you need to look at everything as an opportunity for learning. Surround yourself with people who are in the same business with you and don’t give up on your dream.
Be persistent and consistent and get used to being competitive and seek knowledge about what you do.