Gendered jobs decline: Eric Niiquaye Nartey, a male hairdresser

BY: Joycelyn Kyei-Baffuor
Hairstyling is Mr Eric Niiquaye Nartey's passion

Jobs are increasingly becoming gender-neutral unlike in the past where some professions were dominated by a particular gender.

Career choices are largely influenced by one’s passion, interest, skills and talent rather than gender.
Young people are not only breaking ingrained gender stereotypes but also advancing in their chosen fields.

Mr Eric Niiquaye Nartey, who is in his early 30’s and a product of the Christ the King Catholic College in Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria, is one of such persons who has sidestepped career stereotypes and is making strides as a male hairdresser.

He has carved a niche for himself with respect to short and trendy haircuts.
In a recent interview with The Mirror, in East Legon, Accra, he explained that his dad, a former footballer also ventured into hairdressing in 1995.
“At the time I was living with my father in Nigeria. So after school, I assist in washing hair of clients at my dad’s salon. The clients were impressed so I kept going back, and from that time I knew I wanted to do this full-time.”

Mr Nartey’s Apprenticeship

Eric’s family relocated to Ghana in 2011 and it was during that time that he undertook apprenticeship.

According to him, the period offered him valuable practical experiences and exposed him more to high standards of the profession. After the apprenticeship, he secured a job as a “work and pay hairdresser”.

“I worked so hard to make more money to enable me start my salon. It was not easy, but it has been worthwhile. I did not allow anything to stand in the way of my passion for hairdressing,” he narrated.

Setting up his own salon

He opened his salon with the brand name hair by Koko 23, coined from his nickname, kokobuster, with the “23” representing the age he took his first salary.

“Currently, I have two apprentices and two workers. I offer services like washing, fixing of weave-on, hair treatment and everything female hairdressers do. My specialty is trendy perm cuts and short hair. So far, business has been very good because my clients are always satisfied with my work and I keep getting referrals.”

He believes in constant career development and regularly updates his knowledge by attending refresher courses in precision, straightening and styling.
Future Prospects

In the next five years, Mr Nartey plans on running a booth rental salon where he would rent out work stations to other hairdressers at a fee.
“I also want to train more people so that when I extend my services across the country, they can run the salon.”

Advice for the youth

He advised the youth not to let anyone define their career path. “Follow your passion and your talent, understand what you want to do and plan towards it,” he said.