Linda Akachukwu Paul is the CEO of PDF Hair and Accessories; she spoke with Deborah Ocheni about her fashion philosophy, the lucrative nature of hair business in Nigeria and sundry issues
What is your personal style?
I love to keep it simple and comfortable. I love dresses made with our local fabric. On a regular day, I love my jeans and t-shirt.
What is your views on African traditional wears?
African traditional attires are unique. They represent our culture and identity and to let go of them will be like discarding our own culture. It is necessary to hold on to them if we wish to preserve our traditions. If we are not going to promote our customs then nobody will, and it is likely that it will become extinct. I love wearing them. Our local prints are never going to go out of style.
Could you name the trending hair style?
Anything wig is a hot deal now.
Why should style lovers invest in quality hair?
Anything quality stands the test of time. It saves cost because it is reusable. You can always revamp a good hair to create different styles.
Do you consider any fashion item indispensable?
For me, my hair extensions are indispensable.
While shopping, which fashion item catches your fancy?
I can’t take my eyes off a good hair, wristwatch and handbag.
Which fashion accessory do you live for?
Human hair extensions. A woman’s hair is her crown and beauty.
Do you conform to trends?
Which fashion trends do you love most? I don’t follow trends. I create my style and it doesn’t have to be expensive or in vogue as long as I’m comfortable in them. That way I stand out. I love long dresses and I create the perfect style for my body. I love the way Nigerian designers have taken our local ankara fabric to another level. Creating different and unique styles with them.
Fashion wise, do you have a role model?
No. I don’t have a fashion role model.
Is there anything you’re unlikely to be caught wearing?
I admire and respect people who dress decently. You are never going to see me wear anything revealing. I equally will not have a tattoo or pierce my body.
What is your ready to go outfits?
A pair of jeans and t-shirt.
When it comes to fashion, would you say your physique works for you?
Yes it does. And that’s why I like to create my style and what suits me. You can’t be a plus size and go for a crop top or body con dress.
Which outfits take up most space in your wardrobe?
Jeans, t-shirts, blouses and long dresses. I feel comfortable in them. They occupy 80 percent of my wardrobe.
What is your costliest fashion possession? How much did you get it?
My set of gold jewellery. I love gold jewellery because they appreciate in value. It was a gift from my husband. I don’t know how much it cost him. But, going by the weight and market value of gold, I know it’s costly.
How do you love your shoes?
I wear high heel shoes. Be it sandals or slippers, I love them with heels. I walk comfortably in them. I also wear flat shoes like my sneakers occasionally. It all depends on my outfit for the day.
What determines what you wear?
It could be the occasion or activities I have for the day; weather or just my mood.
What do you think of modern designers?
The fashion industry is becoming saturated with lots of young modern designers. Their creativity is phenomenal. I follow a lot of them on Instagram and I’m happy to see young people carve a niche in the fashion industry successfully by their unique styles and designs.
Do you have a signature perfume?
I wear a combination of “Sì” by Giorgio Armani, Polo Red and Gucci Guilty.
How do you love your hairdo and make-up?
I love my makeup light. I freestyle my hair. I could just let it fall on my shoulders or pull it all back.
What was growing up like?
I grew up in Enugu with my siblings. I’m the 2nd child and the first daughter of my parents. My parents are disciplinarians who wouldn’t spare the rod to spoil the child. As a teenager I enjoyed working in my father’s printing press when home for holidays. He treated me like one of his employees and that made me responsible and hardworking. My mum multitasked as a university lecturer, hairdresser and baker. I guess her hair dressing trait rubbed off on me. I’ll say growing up was fun with lots of beautiful childhood memories
How lucrative is hair business and what’s the level of patronage in Nigeria compared to other countries?
Hair business is a viable and lucrative business in Nigeria. Most women today go the extra measure to look good and are willing to spend even their last money to achieve this. One of the signs of a woman’s beauty is her hair. To achieve good looks, women make their hair with all types of hair extension and they do it almost every week. The demand for hair extension in the Nigerian market is skyrocketing every day.
Hair business in Nigeria, especially in Lagos, seems saturated; how do you intend to keep afloat?
Integrity is key in every business; I don’t compromise on quality while ensuring I give reasonable prices. I make my customers loyal by giving incentives on products they purchase. These sometimes come as gifts or huge discounts on products depending on the quantity. I go beyond the business transaction to build a relationship with my customers. In that regard, a lot of my customers have over time become great friends.
Who are your popular clients?
They are mostly my followers on social media. Students, working ladies and boss ladies.
Would you say you are satisfied with your choice of business?
Very satisfied. I love what I do. I love working on hairs – colouring, styling, making wigs etc.
What is the major challenge boss ladies face?
Boss ladies work round the clock to remain on top and so you have the challenge of having to balance work and home for the married ones.
What is your advice to those who wish to attain the height that you are now?
Never give up and be confident in what you do. There may be tough times, but the difficulties which you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and to win against all the odds.
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