Femi Elegbede is the CEO of Femi Black, topnotch hair styling firm that deals in different kinds of Unisex hair do, sales of different and high-quality human hair products and accessories, home services and more. He has been in the business of hair styling for over fifteen years and has a good number of patronizing him at his Onipanu office before life happened to him.
His shop was set ablaze after a street riot and he lost all he had. Emotional as it was, Femi Black didn’t give up. He faced his deep fears again, and moved on. Today, he has set up another outfit somewhere else in Lagos and has continued his passion.
Last week, he was at City People’s Head Office in Gbagada where he shared his experience on how things went down for him and how he started again despite all the odds. DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 quizzed him and here are some excerpts from the interview.
Tell us a little about yourself…
My name is Femi Elegbede, I run the Femi Black outfit. I am a hairstylist and we also do sales of original human hair, hair accessories and all that your hair requires. We used to be at No 4, Adeniyi Street, Onipanu. We have a list of top celebrities who patronize us. In fact, those of them who live abroad used to come to our office whenever they are in the country. We have been at that location for almost 15 years. But suddenly, the unthinkable happened. We lost everything we had at the office to hoodlums. There was a street riot at Onipanu and hoodlums set many houses and shops ablaze. Unfortunately for us, our office was among those that were set on fire. This period was very tough for me and my staff but we had to move on. After a while, we had to set up another outfit because our customers kept calling and demanding our services. We were out of business for almost four years because we were trying to find our feet again but many of them still kept faith with us. They kept in touch and were pushing us hard to come back to life. It was the push we had from them that made us establish our new outlet in Ketu, Lagos.
What has kept you going despite all the challenges?
Well, I will say the power of consistency, and relationship with clients. We tried to develop such a close knot with them so much that we become a part of their lives. Diligence and customer satisfaction are our watchwords. We make sure that any customer that comes to our office gets maximum satisfaction. Just as I said earlier, our customers stood by us during these difficult times and they are the reason we are back on the street again.
So where are you situated now and what is the strength of your new office?
We are situated at No 72, Oluyombo Street, Off Love Hall Street, Ikosi, Ketu, Lagos. We have well-trained professionals who are always ready for work. For now, we are still observing physical distancing so we rotate our staff. We are Covid-19 compliant and we try as much as possible to avoid crowd gathering at our office. However, we are open for business 24/7 and also render home services too. Femi Black is back and better and we now offer additional services that give comfort to all our customers. We have more than 10 staff and many apprentices working with us.
What other extra values do you add to the services you now render?
Well, we have a good number of them. The Topmost on the list is hair treatment. We treat hair no matter the condition of your hair, we can help you revitalize it and bring out the beauty in it. For those who have bald hair or those whose hairs are breaking, Femi Black is the place to visit. A lot of women complain that their hair is discolored. That will be a thing of the past when you visit Femi Black. We assure our customers of 100 and one percent satisfaction. Aside from that, we can be reached on social media. Our social media handle is Femi Black on Facebook and @FemiBlack on Instagram. We have all services available on social media and we are just a ping away from you our esteemed customers. We also train hair stylists. We have trained many professionals and we are still training more. Name the kind of braid that you want and you have it. Ghana weaving is also available. Apart from all these, we also sell. We sell the best quality human hair that you can ever have. We sell Peruvian hair, Brazilian hair, etc.
You have more than 15 years on the job… what has the experience been like so far?
It’s been interesting and challenging as well. We have had the good times and the bad times and it can only get better. We started on a very good note we had customers and celebrities coming in from America, UK and other foreign countries. We have a lot of celebrities on our list. One of them is the popular actress, Lilian Bach, and Efe Nathan, another popular gospel artiste. A good number of them would not like us to mention their names. I am sure you understand the situation of the country. I have received an invitation from a salon in South Africa to help train some of their staffers but then, things turned the other way after this crisis.
Who do you look up to in the industry or see as a role model?
I started with Bobby AK, he is my teacher and mentor, he is such an encourager, he is like a father to me and he helped me to be where I am today. Bobby AK is a leader who watches out for the progress of those under him. He is never afraid of you becoming better than him. He does not see any brand he trained as a competitor or threat. He is such a leader with a broad shoulder and wild arms. He is a lovely boss that is always there for his subjects. He gave us a fantastic opportunity that we leverage today.