This Regina couple bet on Black hair and opened a new business in the pandemic

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With COVID-19 constraints continuing to threaten the livelihood of entrepreneurs across Canada, Blessed and Ediri Okurame knew they ended up using a risk when they started their hair and attractiveness studio in Regina.

But they also realized they had discovered a market that was not becoming catered to sufficient in the town: Black hair.

“There is a fashion lacking here,” said Lucky. “The educational process right here teaches a unique way of reducing hair than is desired for the texture of our [Black] hair. We do not have a good deal of specialists who know how to do Afro hair due to the fact they are not staying taught at school here in Saskatchewan.”

Despite the fact that they knew they had been getting a hazard, especially for the duration of these pandemic situations, the few opened Blessed Hair & Beauty Studio late last yr, turning out to be one of only a number of businesses in Regina to offer expertise in Black hairstyles.

“Our enterprise specializes in a number of solutions that cater to all individuals, in particular Black people, these types of as haircuts, split-conclude trims, beard trims, dreadlocks, hairline lineups, makeup, wig repair service, hair replacements, weave and frontal set up, eyelashes, extensions, hair tattoos, personalized hair color, cornrows, box braids, and the listing goes on,” said Ediri.

Fortunate and Ediri Okurame did the unimaginable: they opened a new enterprise in the midst of a pandemic, betting that a niche current market they saw as underserved in the metropolis would be enough to sustain their new salon, specializing in styling Black hair. 1:17

Working by way of troubles

Along with the business enterprise option arrived the obstacle of adapting to COVID-19 polices, which the pair met by producing the studio “COVID ready,” Fortunate said. To do that, they place limits on how quite a few persons could be in the studio and manufactured sure work stations ended up thoroughly spaced out to meet social distancing demands, he reported. 

The Okurames supply every little thing from box braids to wig repairs and hair tattoos. (Trent Peppler/CBC)

COVID-19-related challenges are not the only hoops the Okurames have experienced to bounce through. Ediri said starting the business enterprise was primarily tricky for her, staying a mom to two young little ones: Gabriella, 3, and Lucky, 2.

“Thankfully, we had been able to come across them a babysitter and a superior daycare,” she reported. “Balancing motherhood, currently being a spouse and do the job is hard, but I am so grateful to have such a supportive husband.”

‘Managing two toddlers is absolutely not effortless, but it’s even tougher when you might be also taking care of a new organization,’ Ediri mentioned of parenting Gabriella, 3, and Lucky, 2, when obtaining a new salon up and managing. (Submitted by The Okurames)

The couple arrived to Canada a couple of years back from Nigeria, wherever Blessed had been reducing hair. In Saskatchewan, he started reducing hair in his basement just before eventually co-owning a barber provide retail store in Regina.

He and Ediri say that so significantly, the experience of managing their possess shop jointly has been a desire appear genuine and has made their union more powerful.

“I really like performing with my partner. We were being very best mates right before we got married so just about every working day of this journey has been nothing at all but enjoyable as we determine out what is upcoming for the company,” Ediri said.

Although the official business enterprise launch of Blessed Hair & Attractiveness Studio is scheduled for March 20, the salon opened up to clients three months back and has been received warmly by the local community.

“We have experienced a good deal of individuals reaching out to operate with us,” Blessed claimed. “It has really been too much to handle. The men and women of Regina have been supportive so far.”

‘We were finest friends prior to we got married so every working day of this journey has been very little but pleasurable,’ Ediri mentioned. (Trent Peppler/CBC)

Additional inclusive businesses

The Okurames say they would like to see more firms like theirs that cater to exclusive hair requires for a diversity of men and women. About 3 for every cent of Regina’s population is Black, according to the 2016 census.

“Saskatchewan is a various group crammed with individuals from different components of the globe. It would be pleasant to see distinct hair-creating strategies from these diverse areas,” Fortunate said.

Fortunate hopes to enjoy a section in educating hair stylists and beauticians all in excess of the place, he stated.

“We are attempting to make our company a franchise enterprise all about Canada. Our aim is to construct a worldwide manufacturer,” Fortunate mentioned. “We are hoping to have a setup in Toronto and Calgary. Once we have more alternatives to expand as much as we can, we will surely do that.” 

Hear | Lucky and Ediri Okurame notify CBC Saskatchewan’s Early morning Edition why they opened a salon in a pandemic:

The Early morning Edition – Sask7:15Regina few working hair and splendor studio obtain good results in catering to Black local community users

Lucky and Ediri Okurame moved to Regina a several yrs back. Immediately after acquiring a lay of the land, they determined to start their very own organization for the duration of the pandemic — a hair and beauty salon that serves individuals of all races, but focuses on Black persons. Fortunate and Ediri are element of a CBC Saskatchewan series that celebrates stories from Black communities, and they join host Stefani Langenegger to chat about their company and an emerging specialized niche in Regina. 7:15

For a lot more stories about the activities of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black local community — examine out Staying Black in Canada, a CBC undertaking Black Canadians can be very pleased of. You can go through additional stories here.