Hello, folks, thanks for joining us on another edition of the Ibadan Insider Business Visit. Today we are talking to Mrs. Adedoyin Balogun, CEO of Thairapy Salon and Spa, a fast rising Salon and Spa situated at Bashorun, in the heart of the City of Ibadan. She talks to us about her love for Ibadan, how she got into the Salon Business, her experiences so far in Ibadan and her vision for the future of the Salon and Spa business.
Thanks for sparing time to have this chat with us, Our readers would love if you introduced yourself further.
I’m just Adedoyin Balogun, I am the CEO of Thairapy Salon and Spa. I am married to Segun Balogun, a Pastor. My Husband is from Ekiti, but he grew up in Ibadan. These days, though. He lives and works in Abuja. I grew up in Lagos. I came to Ibadan when I got married and since then I have been in love with the city
What led you to establish Thairapy Hair Salon and Spa, especially in a place like Ibadan, where Spas are a fairly new venture?
The thing is when you think of anything primitive, people will always think of Ibadan. People think of Ibadan as a glorified village. Till today, people still ask me, “What is happening in Ibadan? What are you doing there?” However, a lot of people do not realize that Ibadan was once the capital of the Western Region, so Ibadan ought to have grown economically bigger than what we have at the moment. For me, though, I just love Ibadan for some reason.
As it is my husband is based in Abuja. Normally, I am supposed to go with him, but I decided to stay because I have confidence in the economic prospects of this city. As for why I decided to establish this place, over time, a lot of the salons that we go here have not been able to give me the kind of service I want, especially with the environment and all that. I grew up in Lagos and in addition to that, I am a person that has this compulsive love for neatness. My knack for neatness has become almost pathological. I also know for sure that everybody wants to look good, both men and women want their hair well done; they want their nails clean and trim. Part of what I also thought about when I thought about starting this place was a bonding place for family. This is a place where parents can come with their children to get their hair done and their nails manicured and pedicure done, for both male and female. Those are some of the reasons why I started this place.
So, for how long, if I may ask, has this place been running?
We started four months ago, precisely the 7th of July of this year.
So how has the reception been?
God has really been faithful; I have gotten far more than what I projected when I started this place. In fact, the number of clients we are getting now, I didn’t expect to get them in my projection for after like six to eight months.
How does that make you feel about Ibadan and the people who live in it, especially as compared to what you heard about Ibadan while you were growing up in Lagos, has that changed your perception of Ibadan?
When I wanted to start this place, a number of people tried to discourage me, saying things like “Ibadan people are miserly, they won’t spend money, they won’t patronize you.” But one thing I know is that for every business you want to do, you will always have your target customer base. As much as we want to make sure that a place like Thairapy Salon and Spar is open to everyone, we still have people come here and say to us, “your services are too expensive.” However as I told one of the people who tried to discourage me when I started this place, I know that I cannot get everybody living in Ibadan to patronize my business, but if I can get only twenty percent of the populace to patronize me, I will be happy indeed. So one thing we always try to do a Thairapy is to convince our customers that the service we are rendering to them is not about the money they are paying. It is about the value they have placed on themselves as people. For Instance, I don’t complain about how much I have to pay, when I go to a salon to have my hair done. I pay whatever they demand. What I can do is not to go back to the place if I feel that I didn’t get good value for my money. A lot of people are in this line of work, for profit, but I am here because I want people to look good. I am not here to exploit people. And a lot of our customers attest to that fact.
So what are the services you render at Thairapy Salon and Spa?
We do everything that has to do with hair both male and female. We barb, we shave and we do all the different styles of female hair as well. We do manicure and pedicure, we do everything about nails. In the Spa we do different types of massage, the classic massage, the hot massage, the deep tissue massage, we do body polishing as well
So because of the nature of your services what kinds of people usually form the bulk of your target audience?
As I said, our target customer is anybody who wants value for their money. Anybody that wants his/ her body treated well in a clean environment, anybody who wants quality service rendered is welcome here.
So have you had any challenges so far with running this place?
The major challenge we have had so far is electricity supply. In this kind of place, we need constant electricity supply, to make sure that this place is comfortable for our customers. For instance, here is a machine we use to apply gel, it needs power to function. all our hairdryers and other heavy machines need electricity. Lack of power is a really major issue. The other challenge we have is the staff. It is difficult to get dedicated people to work with, in Ibadan. All the people working with me here, I brought them from outside Ibadan. It is not about the money either, everyone who works with me is paid higher than the industry standard and I always make sure my staff is paid on time. It is just that most hairdressers in Ibadan just want to collect the money and not render the kind of quality service I want.
So do you train people here, I mean in a formal training school sense?
No, not yet. My staff gets a lot of on the job training and instruction, though. But there is nothing formal yet. We have it in mind, though.
Since the time that Thairapy has been open for business, have you seen any competition? If I may add what do you think about competition in this line of work?
I have not seen any competition yet as far as I know. To your question about competition, I don’t mind at all. In fact, I think competition is nice. Let me tell you a story, I was referred to a salon, one time like that. When I got to the place and I met the owner, she turned out to be a likable person, she started telling me things and I found myself advising her and sharing knowledge with her. So I don’t mind competition at all. If you can render quality service where you are as I do here, I don’t have any issues with that at all. As the proverb goes “The sky is wide enough for birds to fly without running into each other.”
So where do you see Thairapy in the next five years
My vision is for this place to be way up there among the best Salons here in Ibadan. This place is going to be so big I know it.
How did your journey in the salon business begin? Have you always worked in the salon business, or was it something you just dabbled into?
Actually, as a child I have always been interested in fashion and body couture in general, hair, nails and all that. As a young child, people ask you what you want to become when you grow up. That time when people ask me what I wanted to do, I always told them that I want to be a secretary and if I couldn’t become that I wanted to be a business woman instead. When I finished secondary school, I didn’t immediately get admission into University, so I had like a year when I had nothing to do. I decided to learn hairdressing.
My parents, however, opposed the idea, because they didn’t want me to learn at those salons, where I would be treated like a maid and end up doing everything else except the actual hairdressing I want to learn. My Dad actually told me to go and learn Fashion designing instead since there was already an institute for that. However, I didn’t like fashion designing very much.
Around that time my father traveled out of the country on an official assignment. So one day I was talking with some of my friends about my plans. Then one of them said,” I saw the sign for this Beauty Training Institute you may be interested in.” It turned out she was talking about the Opral Benson Beauty Training Institute, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos. I checked it out and I loved it. When I took my parents to meet the Principal of the Institute, they were impressed too. So I studied for a diploma in Cosmetology. It was later during my Beauty Therapy Course that I got my admission. When I got my admission, my parents asked me if I wanted to open a Salon or I wanted to go to school. I decided I wanted to go to school instead.
So in what ways would you say your time at Opral Benson trained you to become a business owner?
The most important thing was the knowledge I gained there. There is nothing like knowledge. Without my knowledge at Opral Benson, I wouldn’t even be here today. Even as the CEO of Thairapy, I attend to customers myself sometimes. Your staff will not respect you and be diligent with your work if they notice that you don’t have any knowledge about the work you are giving them to do. As I said before my compulsion for neatness has almost become an OCD. I have to do a lot of things myself.
So did you go into the Salon business immediately you finished school?
When I graduated from school, my father made me go into the corporate world to gain experience. The valuable experience I gained there has really helped me to run this place. A lot of businesses die or cannot offer good services because their owners failed to get the requisite experience before they started out. Money is not a substitute for experience. Even knowledge isn’t. You have to be really kept doing the job you have before you start out on a venture of your own. That is what I tell people who come to me for advice or mentorship.
Thank you Ma for having this chat with us
You are welcome; it has really been pleasant spending time with you.
Thairapy Salon and Spa is situated at Gbeyikomi House Opposite BCOS Ile- Akede Orita Basorun Ibadan. Get on Instagram and check out their beautiful pictures at @thairaphyss or for a reservation on +234 8020959889, 8033263304 you can also send them a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictures by Portleague Photography, www.portleagueweb.com