My name is Afiya Hopson and I am the CEO and founder of the Hair?Braid It! (HBI) brand in Trinidad and Tobago. I have over nine years’ experience as a stylist and my specialties are Braids, Hair Treatments and Hair extensions. I especially love braiding because I see it as an art separate from all other hairstyles; one that requires patience and passion like no other.
At the tender age of thirteen, I began practicing hair-braiding. Soon after I started sporting my own hairstyles, people began asking for my services. Over the years, through trial and error, attending workshops and watching videos my skills have improved tremendously, insomuch that I have even conducted workshops and performed my hair styling skills internationally. I am currently the owner of one salon in Trinidad where I train and employ many other stylists, and have also authored two H?BI manuals published in 2017 and 2020 respectively. The manuals are introductory guides to braiding and styling techniques that subsequently led to the launch of online classes to help stylists around the world perfect their skill.
I attained my BSc. In Industrial Engineering in 2013. In 2014, I then went on to achieve my Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) after I was tested to ensure that I had the knowledge to perform all hairstyles to the highest standards. Over the years, I attended local and international courses to strengthen my skill set and introduce a number of modern hairstyling techniques to the salon like silk press and I-tip extensions. Additionally, I combined the skills I have gained from engineering and hairdressing to educate young women on the joys of braiding and provide them with a source of employment. At least two hundred women have attended my workshops, all of whom have shown remarkable progress.
My goal is to continue learning and educating in the field that I love. I long to see natural hair styling and braiding play a bigger part in cosmetology programs. The H?BI brand that I have established is more than a simple hairstyle or look, it is a medium used to create a woman of a different calibre, a woman of flavor, of variety; one who can harness their inner goddess and take one step closer to being that glamourous woman we all have the potential to be. My team and I at H?BI seek to continuously break barriers and ensure that not only the quality of braiding and hairstyling is excellent but that our customer service and the methods used are nonpareil. We are steadily developing a brand that is customer-driven, customer-centred and customer-focused, creating standards and guidelines that everyone can follow. To change the braiding stereotype on an international level; To promote braiding as a healthy protective style and debunk the myths that surround it; To alter the face of braids for generations to come; H?BI takes braiding to a whole new level.