For several reasons this is by far my favourite feature and will be the last in this series. I have saved the best for last. I know you will be blessed by this because I was beyond just touched and encouraged through this story when I first came across it. I met Modupe during my A’level program. She was my tutor and she always came across as driven, calm and collected. I looked up to her back then in many ways. It’s honour to have her here. Without further ado, let’s cut to chase then.
I’m Modupe Harriet Ajisafe, I’m a medical student at All Saints university Dominica.
Am 24years 7months old
I am a Christian,
I love to clean, arrange things, cook(IN SHORT I LOVE TO SERVE PEOPLE)
I love white and black
Asides being a doctor in training, am a hairstylist, a part time food vendor plus I make chinchin to sell which goes by the name Mo’s delicious chinchin. In other words, you can call me a businesswoman. My business goes by the name, Blessed hands enterprise (BHE) with the subset of the hairstyling and chinchin selling
HOW IT ALL STARTED
It all started in 2015, when I left Nigeria to come school in the Caribbean ,before I left home, I had learnt how to cut hair for males; I spent almost a year in the barber shop while waiting for admission back in 2011/2012. By the end of 2014, I had gained admission to All saints University. While waiting for my mum to put money together for me to resume in January, I decided to start going to my aunts shop who happen to be a hairstylist, just to help her, I had not planned to make hair then, because I felt it was too stressful . so I just go there to help her by cleaning, fetching water and when necessary, wash peoples hair, run errands and help complete the tips of braids, trim braids and so on. She taught me basics stuffs, I enjoyed my stay with her cause, she was nice and I enjoyed working with her and I did those things joyfully, though my mum didn’t like it, because she felt I should be in school and she didn’t want people to start asking questions like, “kilosele, dupe o lo school ni”, or some of them insinuating am no more going to school and I just want to learn a trade.
Fast forward February 2015, I came to Dominica, I came with few items in case I will end up making hair for people such as needle thread, scissors, combs etc. on living home I knew I had to do something to help my mum with the bills for my education, because studying outside Nigeria is quite expensive and in Dominica you are not allowed to work as a student
So, I just began to tell people randomly I could make hair, though I had not made anyone’s hair from scratch by myself. But within me I just knew I could do it
So, I relaxed my roommate’s hair, though she didn’t pay for that
Then one day I got to meet someone who wanted to braid her hair. That was my first hair from scratch all by myself. I can never forget that day, My God, this young lady had a very full natural hair, I didn’t know what I was getting into that day, I started the hair around 11am on Saturday , I was still there till evening then till Sunday morning around 4am. My God, that day I was exhausted, it was as if the hair wasn’t going to finish. As per I was a novice so I was also slow, coupled with the fact that I hadn’t mastered gripping the roots properly so I had to loosen some and make them again, but my client was patient though she was also exhausted but I couldn’t charge much since I was just starting. And that I just discussed the price for the hair and not the price for transport and all. So, I had to foot the cab bill myself since public transport doesn’t work on Sunday and my place was far to hers
After paying for the cab, what I had left was not worth the stress I went through. I almost cried that day cos I didn’t feel compensated for the work and time I had expended and I didn’t like the braids because I felt it wasn’t neat enough, but to my utmost surprise my client was pleased with her hair and when she got to school on Monday, everyone was asking who had made her hair for her and that was it, people started looking for modupe in pre med to make their hair.
CHALLENGES I FACED AND DEALING WITH IT
I remember, the night I got to Dominica, I prayed a prayer and had a discussion with God about my success in Dominica in everything I lay my hands to do. I also spoke to the devil to let him know that, I do not care about , the paradigm in this environment, all I knew was that i was here to succeed.
Competition: Remember, I was new to the school and there were a couple of other people who could make hair excellently well and had been in the business long before I came. That was a major challenge, having my own customers and giving them exceptional service. But with my little experience, I have learnt to commit everything I do into God’s hands. So, for every client I got, I committed them into God’s hands, the process of the hair in to God hands and God making room for me, though there were many other people and God has been faithful
Managing people: Oh my, this is a serious one, this business exposed me to different kinds of people, the good, the not so good, the manipulative, the controlling , how many can I say, Sometimes when I look back, it could have only been God that helped me to deal with people. Since most people come over to my place, to make their hair, so I just make it a point of duty to cater for their needs while they are with me; basically I try to give them lunch or snacks whatever I had at home, though some people come with their stuffs, but could you believe that some people will come and I could make their for 8hours or more take my snacks and they will allow me to finish and tell me they didn’t come with my money. Am usually in shock and I wonder like, why didn’t you tell me before I started the hair, why allow me to finish and all and some will not pay until weeks later
Have had a case where I had to make hair for someone where she told me she hated the hair so much that I had to loosen it and remake the hair again from scratch, and trust me the hair wasn’t as bad as she portrayed it, it was a bob went wrong.
But am grateful for the learning process, God used this business to work out the fruit of the spirit in me
I still can’t believe the rubbish I took from people. The love of God really constrained me and
I will not fail to add, that I had exceptional customers, who were very nice, even gave me tips, some of them pay for my transport to my house and still cared for my belly too, though I don’t eat most time I make hair
Learning and trying new thing: YouTube was and is still a good teacher, there were a lot of times, people will show me pictures of what they wanted to make, though I had never made it before. I would got to YouTube, watch as many videos as possible ask other people for ideas then , work out what would be best for my clients hair and face and as always every client was a prayer point
Prices: I stated earlier that my prices were quite low, compared to what most other people charged, I had always been the considerate kind of person, having the understanding that this people are students so I made it cheaper coupled with the fact that I was new. But most of the time I listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit too because I didn’t want to exploit anyone but at he same time get a reasonable pay. At some point some other stylist challenged me that I was kind of spoiling business for them, I just prayed about it, then as usual I received guidance and counsel. And I got the understanding that it was my time people were paying for not just my skill
Speed: Initially, I used and average of 12hours on a medium box braids and more if the braids is smaller of longer. And I knew that wasn’t good enough plus I wanted to be worker in church there was no way I could do that with my hair styling schedule on Saturday, and as always, I told it to God, and I asked for speed. And God answered my prayers, he granted me speed, he gave me wisdom on time managements, so I was able to serve him, do my business and study too. MY average time for braids now is 6-7hrs
Strain on my Body: oh lord, the standing for hours started putting a strain on my body because at some points I made hair almost every day especially when school was on Holiday. I started having pains in my spine, my legs began to hurt, my finger also sometimes become stiff and so on. And like the bible say, wisdom is profitable to direct. I began to take break, though I could need the money, I don’t take all clients that come my way, and I don’t take all kinds of hair styles that come my way, I have learnt to refer clients to other stylists. Especially when I know that is the area of specialization of those stylists, I try to take care of my body better, take snacks or food sometimes in between and drink lots of water
Also, I engage my soul and spirit while working, I listen to messages, worship songs etc. that my spirit man is edified and soul is engaged in fruitful and profitable things so that those long hours don’t just pass by without me doing nothing to edify the real me. I also watch movies with my clients at times, but am quite picky about what I watch and hear so most of the time I do my own thing.
WHAT KEEPS ME GOING
I would say my clients, I have had times, when I would say am taking a break, but people will just walk up to me and insist that if I don’t make their hair, they wouldn’t go anywhere else and for me, that’s so humbling. Also, there is something about when a woman’s hair is made. The beauty is more seen. Her cheek bones and eyes speak more.
I love it when I see the before and after of the whole making process. And the look on their faces, when they start taking pictures. That feeling of “am pretty”
I started with the quest of being able to pay for some bills but now, it has gone beyond that, I use it as a medium to spread the love of Christ. I just pray that I will able to do more in that line.
The process has shaped me as a human being and am grateful for all that God has used this business to do in my life
HOW TO BALANCE HAIR STYLING WITH MEDICINE
GRACE: That is the sum of my life, I have been helped by a mighty hand. From above, almost every process has been guided by God, there were times I forgot to pray and straight up the holy spirit disciplines me and I pray in between the task, without God, I couldn’t have done anything. In God I found strength , there were days I would have worked and be so tired but I know I had to study, but God will sustain me through my study time, and there were days, when I would dose off and not be able to do much. But God always backed me up, redeem the time for me
TIME MANAGEMENT: The bible says if anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men liberally and upbraids not (James1:5). I asked, and I received wisdom. I worked out my hair schedule. I make hair during the holidays, first 2-3 weeks of resumption on weekends and sometimes weekdays if my schedule is not too packed because exam in my school is every 4 weeks. As business, grew I create schedule and fix people into it.
Most importantly, I allow the holy spirit to guide me, I don’t take every client. I have had cases whereby I took up clients maybe because I needed money and I had to cancel that period because the holy spirit told me no, but I was like I need the money, but I obeyed and he sorted me out. And when I disobey too, I realize the reasons why he restricted me later.
Plus, I always remember my mums voice saying” modupe, I didn’t send you to school to make hair “
So, I don’t lose focus, THE FOCUS IS MEDICINE”. WHATEVER YOU DO, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU MAKE, MEDICINE IS THE FOCUS AND PASSION. HAIRSTYLING IS A SIDE HUSTLE THAT HAS BECOME A HOBBY
SUPPORT SYSTEM: I didn’t like to ask for help, because I didn’t like to disturb people with my stuffs, but now am learning to ask people for help, to do little things that will make my work faster so I can go back to my books
I also do review schoolwork with my clients if they are students and we are in the same class or the they are doing similar courses, by answering questions
sometimes, I listen to videos on my courses while working
A WORD FOR YOU
At some point I asked God, “ lord why do I have to go through this to pull through school’, it seemed like a curse , because I saw people who all they did, was just to study and they didn’t have to work for anything. But then as a father, he reminded of how are journeys and paths are different and every individual has grace for their journey
Are you a medical student or a medical student to be?
Know this that your path is different, though you all might wear the same white coat, but yours might come with a chef’s jacket, a sewing machine, a painter’s brush, a comb as mine came with and so on
Be grateful for your journey
Remember Medicine is the focus
Read, study, surround yourself with friends who understand or have an idea of your abilities
Work hard and work smart
Pray about everything
Always ask for grace and wisdom
Improve yourself and get knowledge in whatever business
There is no excuse for mediocrity, settle for only excellence
It is only diligence that makes you serve kings, start small and keep building
It’s not bad to make some extra cash by using your gifts, skills
Finally keep praying, keep pushing, keep pressing, Don’t stop doing good, even if people continue to be bad
God bless you