“My banking knowledge helped me exponentially because I can now sit down with a hair stylist and educate her in all aspects of her business; for example: salon management, how to manage your salon? Is it organized, clean? What are your prices? Ghanaian stylists do not price their charges right. I feel sorry for some of them as they can do their hair for years and yet never make what they deserve because they are grossly undercharged.”
“They forget that they use water; they use electricity, and the transportation it takes to get to work. All of these are cost factors that need to be standardized and penciled into the final cost. You are a professional and as a professional you should pay yourself well. So why should people do hair and charge only GHC5? It just doesn’t make sense. The average price, in reality, should be about GHC20. These are some of the things that we try to point out. What about your customer care service? Do you retail products in the salon? — That’s another way of making an income. Hairdressers are after all looked upon as hair doctors, so if you display the products you use on your customers hair and make them available for sale you will automatically generate a larger income for your salon. You can even utilize the idea of a tip jar, and put something like a cookie jar at your work station and the appreciative customer will of course endow you with some extra remuneration.”
NATURAL OR RELAXED?
“What natural hair needs is simple: natural hair needs to be washed and cleaned, and care is also dependent on the individual: the hair might be dry and needs moisture, some hair needs to be detangled, etc. Natural hair is just like any other hair except that you just have to groom it more. The hair style or type is not really that important because either way you have to groom it and take care of it. And natural hair is just as fragile as relaxed hair so it still needs proper care.”
Sandy is irritated when you ask him if it is fair to women with kinky hair to say that it is easier to manage relaxed hair? “What do you mean by people with kinky hair? Kinky hair is just coarse hair, and coarse hair is just that. Coarse hair can be straightened and that’s why women like to straighten it, because the coarse hair doesn’t give you flexibility. You can only style coarse hair one way. I just believe that with relaxed hair, as I stated before, there is far more style versatility.”
But he is adamant in his believe that people should do what is comfortable for them, in regards to their self-perception. “It’s all about beauty isn’t it? So whatever you can do to enhance your beauty why not? It’s only temporary, hair grows and you can get tired of it, so you can cut it and do whatever you want with it. If someone was to cut his or her permed hair it would of course grow back naturally”
CHEMICAL DAMAGE; WHO’S TO BLAME?
Although [some] people from a very young age start to relax their hair and provide more revenue for MVP, Sandy insists that relaxing still comes with a great deal of responsibility. “Relaxed hair takes a lot of maintenance; if you’re going to relax your hair and you can’t do the proper maintenance then it’s not a good idea for you. You need to maintain it regularly because if you continue to relax it, it gets very dry so you need to keep up with moisturizing. Even when brushing or combing out your hair, if you use excessive force, you will cause damage to the hair shaft and it will break. Too much tension causes the hair to becomes thin and before you know it, you start losing your hair, and no one wants that”
“But even with the best of products there remains a margin of error in the hair care business. “Improper application can cause damage. For instance, if you fail to apply a relaxer correctly you can damage the skin of your scalp and you will in turn lose hair. And maybe even your ability to grow more hair. Sometimes, hairdressers will buy just any shampoo for the post-relaxing wash; you cannot safely mix chemicals of such caliber with other brands. One of the things that they teach well in countries with an advanced Hair Care industry is that when you style hair you have to look at the face shape, and pick a style accordingly. A woman’s hair should complement the type of face she has. Her hair should be light and shiny, and not dull, styled neatly, nothing tacky. Less is more. I can’t do hair, but I know a lot about the science behind hair.”
MVP also employs the use of organic ingredients in some of their more popular products, but it’s their ingenious approach in melding both chemical and organic together that gives them such success. “One can’t say organic alone is good or better than inorganic because sometimes it needs something like a catalyst to better complement its original purpose. Within the formulation of a product there is a trick, it’s all about melding advanced science and organic ingredients.”
With the quick growth of MVP, Sandy firmly believes that his brand in comparison to his competitors not only match their effectiveness but surpass them entirely. “You know what I’m going to say already, and it’s true. We make the best hair care products. I have a joke that I used to tell friends “Hey, be careful using my brand, because it’s like a good lover, you try and it once and you’re hooked for life” In all honesty, all you have to do is ask people that have used MVP you will receive an overwhelming wave of support for our product. It speaks for itself. I believe in utilizing every available resource to market your product but of course in the end if the quality is not good it will fail.”
In the near future, Sandy plans on expanding his company and delving into a male grooming product line, he has high hopes within the market he has played in for years and is confident in his success. “Even though men in Africa do not pay that much attention to self-grooming, I strongly believe it is important. Sometimes you see men walking around and the hair is just so dry and looks unhealthy because they use normal soap and don’t apply moisturizer. Everybody needs moisturizer to soften the hair and make it look groomed. If you put on a nice suit and your hair is not right, it takes something away.”
Men only really need two products, a shampoo and moisturizer, always to look neat and nice. The men product line will be done in success too.”
PULL QUOTES: “I like the hair care industry because it’s timeless: from the time of Cleopatra to modern days, ladies have always adorned their hair with different ornaments. Even in the olden days, henna was used to colour the hair and to give it a different appearance so it’s a very dynamic industry.”
“A woman’s styling options are limited with kinky hair… with relaxed hair there is far more style versatility.”
“My brand is like a good lover, you try it once and you’re hooked for life.”