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AfiyaAt the tender age of thirteen (13), I began what I thought was simply an act of boredom; this act was hair-braiding. My previous hairdressers were my teachers, as I meticulously watched their braiding techniques which I then emulated. As time progressed, I became confident enough in my ability to braid my own hair, the end result was amazing, particularly as I was a first time braider.

Practice did indeed make perfect. As I began sporting my own hairstyles people began asking for my services. First my classmates, then their family and friends, pretty soon even my neighbors began asking me to do their hair. I finally decided that I should extend my clientele even further, that is when I created the Facebook page Hair?Braid it!. My services are thus no longer limited to simply friends and family but it is now available to anyone seeking a fabulous braided hairdo!

Hair?Braid It! was established in 2011 when I was a mere eighteen (18) year old with a dream. I continuously focus on ways to expand and improve my business. Over the years, I mastered my skill and decided that I should share my gift. It was then that I sought to be qualified in order I can pass my knowledge onto others. I attained my Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) as it is recognized across the Caribbean and is distributed by the Caribbean Examination Council. My skills were tested to ensure that I had the knowledge to perform all hairstyles at the highest standards. A qualified hairdresser means that I can share my knowledge, not only do I have my CVQ but I also have my BSc. Industrial Engineering. I have combined the skills I have gained from both things to educate young women on the joys of braiding and provide them with a source of employment. I have taught at least one hundred and fifty (150) young ladies who have all shown remarkable progress. Additionally, I have assisted them in marketing themselves, setting up appointments and a variety of other things this allowed the ladies to start their own business or expand their existing salons.

My goal is to develop the skill further while still creating beautiful styles, in shorter times and at affordable prices. I am always learning more styles and spreading my knowledge as part of my daily goal. My long term goal is to promote the skill on a regional and international basis.  My determination and love for braiding is my driving force. I chose to focus on braids because I see it as an art separate from all other hairstyles; it requires patience and passion like no other. If you enter this profession simply for money and not out of love, you will not stay in it very long. Braiding needs to become a part of you, a love that you don’t want to let go of. It requires a special bond and that is what I have for braiding and I have no problem with exposing that to the world. My love and passion for my career knows no bounds. 

The Hair? Braid It! (HBI) brand is more than a simple hairstyle or look, it is creating a woman of a different calibers, a woman of flavor, of variety; it makes you harness your inner goddess and takes you one step closer to being that glamourous woman we all wish we had the confidence to be. HBI is creating standards that everyone can follow, we’re breaking barriers and ensuring that not only the quality of braids are excellent but that our customer service and the methods used are nonpareil. We are steadily creating an industry that is customer driven, customer centered and customer focused.

In 2017 I launch the HBI manual a step by step guide for popular braiding hairstyles. This book was fueled by my passion to always do better and gain more information. I opted to make handouts for my students for my workshops which often helped them at home to remember and refresh information they might need. They convinced me that the quality notes should be formulated in to a book, so I compiled it did some research and launched it. In one year I have sold over 200 manuals and I hope to increase sales in the near future.

In 2018 I am launching my HBI ergonomic workstation, this station was an idea I came up with while studying my Industrial engineering degree. I saw a problem and was determined to improve it. This designed coupled with the right tools, a hydraulic chair and improved process allowed for increase health and safety in the workplace and an increase in efficiency. It follows ADA standards and RSI standards and designs to reduce risk of injuries in the workplace. This is my biggest project yet and I have plans to make sure it becomes a worldwide station requested by braid stylists everywhere.

My Goals:

  • To change the braiding stereotype on an international level;
  • To promote braiding as a healthy protective style and debunk the myth that braids damage ones hair;
  • To alter the face of braids for generations to come. Taking braiding to a whole new level. 

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