In this new online series dedicated to the worldwide hawker lifestyle of small businesses. Barber Rickford Cutz interviews the owner of ‘Gold Star Natural Hair Growth’ Dennis Owusu. Both of their experiences have similarities in the hair and beauty market whilst trying to carve out a niche in a crowded market.
Rickford: Is this thing on?
Dennis: So, what made you become a barber or get into barbering?
Rickford: I started cutting my own hair years ago but, I hadn’t done it for years. And then when we got into lockdown I tried to get a bit of a cheeky cut from my barber, but couldn’t get hold of him.
And then it got to a point one day where I just decided, right, I need to cut my own hair. For some reason I was nervous about it, but I used to go on nights out, then on Sunday, come home at two or three in the morning and cut my hair like it was nothing. But just on this occasion, I was nervous, so I did what anyone else would do.
I went on YouTube and looked for some tutorials. Found one that I really liked, followed that to cut my own hair and I just got the bug. I started watching a lot of YouTube videos and yeah, just started trying to find friends and family to let me cut them. Which was more difficult than you’d think. Even though barbershops were closed.
It was it was crazy. One of my best friends from school, so we’re talking 25-26 years now, and his mum had been cutting his hair with a beard trimmer during lockdown. But when I said to him about letting me cut his hair, he’s nervous about it and wanted to stick with his mum.
So I already had mostly equipment and then I just bought some more, but it was still hard to find people to let you practice. Especially guys. I’m precious about my hair in general. I think it’s the same starting any business really. People, even your friends won’t put their faith in you straight away. You have to show them.
Dennis: …but you was trimming my hair from day one”
Rickford: But a lot of people in general, they just won’t show that faith. They’d rather see you practice on a stranger and then come in when you’re good instead of be part of that initial progress.
I’ve had a few people, like yourself obviously, that let me hone some of my skills, but I think for me, the biggest thing was I wanted to get better and learn how to use things like scissors. That was a big thing for me. So I signed up for a college course just to develop my own skills to be honest, and then
when I got there, I was expecting to be like the least able, least experienced. I thought I was going to be a little novice that was silent in the group. But it turned out that I was one of the more able and more dedicated in the group. As the course was going on I started realizing that this is for me.
One of the guys that was on the course, his dad’s got his own barber shop. Hyper Fades in Slough. He told his dad about me and then one day I randomly got a call from his dad asking if I’d come and work in the shop after lockdown. It wasn’t as busy as I would have liked but in terms of the experience and cutting new people… I’ve always engaged with new people whatever I’ve done workwise. It was it was a positive first experience even if I didn’t cut as many heads as I like most of the time.
So, what about you… with your hair growth products. How did you get into that, because its really smart?
Dennis: The idea came from the person that’s now my business partner. The products, her husband was using it. It was something that was working really well. We spoke to the manufacturer. We added in another ingredient and the results have been crazy. Every single client that has used the product has seen growth.
So right now, we’ve sold way over a thousand bottles. How we’re selling right now is mainly through the local barbershops. I’ve got four barbershops pushing the products and we sell a lot through Shopify, but I’m looking at other platforms as well, like your Amazon.
At the moment we’ve got a couple of contacts in Dubai that we’re talking to and they’ll be able to sell the product, so just trying to get the word out because the good thing is is if you use it as instructed your hair will definitely regrow. Which is where we are now.
Rickford: That’s amazing but, especially with everyone wanting to go to Turkey.
Dennis: The natural way. I’ve seen people talk about illnesses they’ve cured going the natural way the, herbal way. So, when this product landed on my table I thought, you know, it’s a no-brainer I’m going to try it out. Then I started to see amazing results. So hence why we decided to invest into this company to take it to a new level. And hopefully it’s going to go to another bigger level once we’ve got all the key partners in place.