Joyce Wairimu Avoka has been active in the mainstream beauty industry for more than a decade now, though this 31-year-old hair stylist says she has been plaiting hairs for as long as she can remember. Joyce developed passion for hair-styling at the tender age of 5 while in the lower primary. She then took a course at Beauty Point College to sharpen her talent years later.
The diploma in hairdressing lasted eight months and she was among the top performing students. She would later open a salon to pursue her career in hairdressing.
Everything was going well for Joyce and her business until the Coronavirus pandemic struck, and took toll on her beauty business. She was used to calls from clients booking appointments and walk-in clients streaming in. This was no more, and a day would end without even a single client.
That’s when she decided to go online to market her work by launching a blog on YouTube where she would give tutorials on the exotic hair styles. This went well as her YouTube followers sought to try her services.
Being a mother, she knew sacrifice must be in the equation if she was to get a new roster of clients. Without a physical location for her business, she started going to client’s location or, in some cases, having clients come to her house depending on the agreement and availability.
Marketing herself on the social media has helped Joyce Wairimu regain old clients and make new ones. “It has been quite challenging since the pandemic struck. I could not pay rent for my salon as no clients were coming. I had to close shop, it really took toll on me,” narrated the 31-year-old mother of one.
Joyce has mastered exotic hair styles including Ethiopian lines, spirals or flat twist and stitched braids among others. She charges depending on the style and the client’s hair type. She says she serves high-profile personalities who have been her clients throughout the pandemic.
Ms Beatrice Lichungu, an employee at the Danish Refugee Council and one of her clients, expresses confidence in her work. “I was introduced to her by a neighbour,” Beatrice says. “At first I was reluctant to try a new stylist but she did some amazing work. Her plaiting can last for more than a month. I have never felt more confident.”
Joyce plans to set up a salon later in the year and believes a new strategic plan she has crafted will push her through. “I would advise young stylists out there to push on and think beyond the pandemic,” says Joyce, who is a staunch Christian. “It’s not ending soon. So we just have to push on.”