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Segun, my barber, my friend, my brother.

The story you're about to read (perhaps one of my longest but certainly one of my favorite) is a true testimony to the power of loyalty and friendship and the reward for handwork, resilience and commitment. It is the story of my 25-year-old relationship with my barber, Segun Adenote. Read it patiently.

You know how it is, when you just arrive Lagos from backward Akure (compared to bubbling Lagos) where you spent one year serving your fatherland and servicing some of the pretty mbetis in the highly "educated" state, now split into Ondo and Ekiti. This era will be adequately addressed in my upcoming memoir. So, you wait. Ighotago? This one is about Segun.

After settling down in my Uncle's BQ in the heart of Opebi, then the most interesting part of Lagos (in the 90s), I needed a haircut. Being an experienced  barber myself, I was more than sensitive about who I'm going to allow to cut my hair or touch my head, literally. Back in Akure, Spike, my friend and fellow Youth Corper, did it for a two sticks of Benson & Hedges.

Ok, as I walked into Spinters, a unisex hair salon with a swanky facade, I met a starry-eyed, thin young man, smiling in the best traditions of customer service. I was naturally drawn to him. I spent the next 15 minutes describing what I wanted, and all the while he kept quiet and listened to me. Then, he smiled and asked: "Are you a barber?" I responded affirmatively and he assured me he'd "carve" me very well. And that was the beginning of a relationship, which started in 1991 and has grown from barber-client to brother, friend and family. 

With the same Wahl Clipper, Segun cut my hair from 1991 till 2011, when I moved out of the Ikeja area. The story of the Clipper is also for another day. But suffice it to say that Segun won't let me do away with that clipper, which he services, overhauls and kept assuring me was the best ever made! Now, that gives you a hint as to the the qualitative and quantitative decency of the man I'm talking to you about. He looked after the interest of his customers. I still use the clipper till date.

Now come with me as I take you on my journey with Segun from Spinters to Angiemax, to Estamax, to Hidden Beauty and then to Bella Donna-over a 15-year period. Segun was so good I not only followed him as he moved from Salon to Salon, but I also marketed him to my friends, including some of my colleagues in Cadbury Nigeria, some of who I'm told still cut with him.

In 2011, when I moved to Yaba, Segun followed me, and was coming from Ikeja to Yaba every Monday to give me home service. Regrettably, we had to call it off, when he started struggling with the schedule-combining school run and giving me a haircut on the peculiarly and particularly busy Monday mornings. So, we had to make the call but my heart has remained with him.

Now, here's the essence of our relationship, ladies and gentlemen. Segun almost always took me into confidence. In 2004, when he made up his mind to set up his own salon, he sought my opinion. I blessed him. Today, he runs Perfect Look Beauty World Salon off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, with, wait for it, his wife, Florence, herself a world class hair stylist. He also sought my views when he wanted to settle down, as they say in these parts. I asked him to list the top 10 attributes of his ideal wife. He did. The rest, brothers and sisters, is, as they say,  now history.

This Igan meji, Ijebu East-born tireless genius is extremely hardworking and a gentleman to the core. His wife occupies the front of the salon while he runs his things behind. I mean, you have to walk through the wife's section to get to Segun's. Both at home and at work, they live and work in perfect harmony like ebony and ivory on a piano keyboard. They are blessed with three lovely kids, two girls and a boy-Oyinkansola, Adejisola and Kikiloreoluwa. Thankfully none of them is Ola-something or Ola-anybody. Ighotago? The boy is now a man! He's done very well.

Segun won me over and cut my hair for 21 years not by witchcraft, but by being very good at what he did. He won my loyalty by being sincere. He got me by his cleanliness. He kept me by his intelligence...we discussed issues while he cut my hair. Segun became part of my family because he cared and participated in my family events. 

I can't forget the first time he cut my father's hair and almost put me in trouble. Hehehehehe! I think that was 1999. My old man kept an Afro hairstyle, which, Segun and I reckoned was then no longer in vogue and needed to be changed. So I planned with him to level the damn thing! My father was outraged when he suddenly looked up to the mirror and saw the heap of hair he kept and nourished and cherished forever brought down to its knees! Transformed, that is. 

Furious is an understatement. He was incendiary. It took the grace of God, the ceaseless apologies by Segun and the flattering cheers of my siblings, my auntie and her hubby to mollify the old man and convince him he hasn't been snookered. And that automatically become his new look, courtesy of Segun. My father, on his part, insisted it was Segun or nobody else, whenever he visited Lagos. Even when the old man fell sick and ambulatory activities became impaired, Segun came home to cut his hair, even in my absence and both of them forged their own friendship. So, you can imagine Segun's devastation when he learnt the old man passed away a day after New Year in 2003. He joined us in all the funeral programs, helping with any and everything he could.

I just want to appreciate this focused, dedicated, brilliant and honest businessman, who runs an SME with his darling wife, which now employs and mentors young barbers and hairstylists. He's a young man in whom I'm well pleased. 

It's not his birthday, but I just want to call him out for special appreciation and celebration. May almighty God, in whom you have so much confidence, continue to bless and keep you, protect and prosper you and bless your daily hustle. Amen! Please join me to celebrate my friend, and if you happen to be in the Ikeja axis, stop by his place Perfect Look Beauty World Salon, 5 Ogundana Street, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja-his address since he set up shop 12 years ago!
Segun, my barber, my friend, my brother. Segun, my barber, my friend, my brother. Reviewed by Emeka Oparah on Monday, March 14, 2016 Rating: 5

4 comments

  1. The most heartfelt customer's testimonial -elaborate for that- that I have I seen...

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  2. Mr Emeka thank you for celebrating this guy. In the mid-90s through early 2000s before i went back to school, i operated a door-to-step photography sevices that took me to all those saloons you mentioned and other ones on Salvation, Agbaoku, Church St round to Niteshift Colliseum and other parts of Allen/Toyin axis. So I knew Segun vividly but we were not quite close. It's great to know that he later married Florence. That Loyalty, Consistency, Sincerity and Focus pay is a major lesson in this touching story. May God continue to bless their union and their handwork. Any time i hit Opebi again, i will surely say hi to this wonderful couple.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mr Emeka thank you for celebrating this guy. In the mid-90s through early 2000s before i went back to school, i operated a door-step-to-door-step photography sevices that took me to all those saloons you mentioned and other ones on Salvation, Agbaoku, Church Streets round to Niteshift Colliseum and other parts of Allen/Toyin axis. So I knew Segun vividly but we were not quite close. It's great to know that he later married Florence. She was one my major customers then. That Loyalty, Consistency, Sincerity and Focus pay is a major lesson in this touching story. May God continue to bless their union and their handwork. Any time i hit Opebi again, i will surely say hi to this wonderful couple

    ReplyDelete
  4. Segun is a rare barber. Barbing is an art to him. I think we met at the salon once. His wife is also amiable. I must add
    that this is a good customer's testimony for Perfect Look, Ogundana St, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja. Keep it up, Segun.

    ReplyDelete

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