Slaying on a budget

Providing students with affordable hairdressing services.
Jamie-Lee Loss
Teopolina Martin is a 21-year-old education student in her third year at the University of Namibia (Unam). Her greatest passion is making everyone, especially women, feel beautiful since she believes it is one of the aspects that contributes to confidence, and confidence opens doors to nearly anything.

Martin operates a mobile beauty salon and specialises in artificial dreadlocks and butterfly locks. She emphasises that at the beginning, she only did hair because she has the talent and people hired her.

Aligned to student budgets

Her clients, the majority of whom were students, became her motivation over time. She says students are already tight on cash, and getting one's hair done every three to four weeks is challenging and expensive, especially for natural hair.

This is why she offers her services at reasonable prices. The hairstyles can last between two and three months with proper maintenance.

Her business is remarkable in that she began it without a business strategy, a budget, or any start-up funding. She only did her cousin's and friends' hair once, and everyone was intrigued, and thus Slayed by Teopo was born.

"I remember I used to get mad when anyone would say I work or I have a business. It was just about making women and men beautiful on a budget," Martin said.

Balancing act

The most difficult challenge she faces is balancing school and her private life and business.

She is frequently exhausted because she always works.

As a full-time student she focuses on school during the week and business on weekends.

Providing services to clients is equally difficult because she always strives to exceed her customers' expectations. And, because she does not have a physical salon, she must make house calls, which can be risky.

Martin concludes that her priorities have been constant, and her goal has always been to make women beautiful, on a budget, and providing something clean and elegant. She now wants to concentrate on expanding her business and her clientele.