Hair business lucrative, competitive - Nkem Tonweh

Nkem Tonweh

The demand for hair extensions in the Nigerian markets is sky-rocketing everyday. Therefore, the hair extension business is a viable and lucrative business in Nigeria.

At least that is the thought of hair care expert and businesswoman, Nkem Ngbeken Tonweh, the Chief Executive Officer of Natty Cole Beauty Studio, one of the leading beauty brands in Italy.

She said most women today take extra measures to look good and are willing to spend even their last money on hair extensions.

“One of the symbols of a woman’s beauty is her hair. To achieve good looks, women make their hair with all types of hair extensions and they do it almost every week.

“There is lots of competition in the hair business not only in Italy but you need to start by educating your clients about your products. You need to make them understand and see the quality of your products and why your products are different from your competitors. It’s a very competitive business where you need to find your niche. Everybody can’t be your client. There are different qualities and grades of hair, find your niche and all will go on smoothly,”she stated.

“The hair business is a very lucrative business, especially if you have good quality hair. With time you get the right niche and you are able to pick up,” she asserted.

“My dream is to penetrate into the Nigerian market and we are still strategizing, keeping our fingers crossed. I would say apart from my personal successes which I don’t hesitate to congratulate myself and celebrate. I have been awarded 3 times in a role for 3 consecutive years as the Most Innovative Black woman in my region here in Italy. And for me, it’s a great deal seeing other entrepreneurs which I believe have come a long way than me. But my big dream is to settle into the Nigerian market,” she said.

Tonweh relocated to Rome, Italy immediately after her secondary education in Nigeria to meet her mum. According to her, the beginning was rough as she couldn’t find a job she wanted. After several failed attempts and an unfriendly environment she decided to take her fate in her hands.

She started a lingerie shop first but after two years or so she sold the business and decided to go into the hair business.

“My entrepreneurial journey hasn’t been easy, especially being a black woman and a foreigner in Italy. Lots of obstacles but we broke through,” she said

“Finding a job in Italy was a very difficult thing, especially being a black-skinned person. So after school I decided to look for jobs in which I was passionate about. Jobs where you are always in contact with people but no opportunity was given so I opted out doing my own thing and creating my own business,” she said.

After the lingerie shop, Tonweh through extensive research and finding out there was no place one could learn about Afro Hair Extensions, established Afro Hair School by Mimi in Bergamo, Italy. She later sold that too before finding her feet yet again by founding her popular brand, Natty Cole Beauty Studio founded in 2014.

Tonweh is from Delta State but born in Benin City, Edo State. She attended Lydia Primary School and Presentation National High School ( all girls Catholic boarding school) in Benin City.

She is divorced with children.