From strip club to entrepreneurship: How Lagos youngster escaped the red district
From being a waitress at strippers’ club to the professional barber, Alexander Janet, 22, shares her two-month experience with WO in a 10-minute chat in Ikeja recently.
Meeting her during the graduation ceremony in the barbershop where she had completed her course as a professional barber and hairstylist, Jane told WO how she worked as a waitress in a strippers’ club.
“I applied for a job and was given an offer as a waitress. While I was there, I was sexually harassed and offered huge sums of money if I could allow the guys to have sex with me. They told me they were ready to pay any amount just to have sex with them.
“In the club, there were lots of young men and women dancing naked; men masturbating. I was there to raise money and struggle to make ends meet. What I saw was appalling. I will never advise any young lady to go for such a job.
“My parents objected to the work but I had no choice. We were having financial challenges. We were given quit notice and our parents presented the need to get a job. I told my mum about the job and she objected but there was nothing she could about it. I also did not like it.
“I was harassed and my boss was always shouting at me. At one point, a man saw me and asked what happened.
“I narrated my story and he told me he was going to help me. The man was surprised that I was working in a stripper’s club. I told him my family was having financial challenges. My family was staying in Ikorodu”, she said.
On the challenges of being a female barber, Janet lamented that some men prefer male barbers to cut their hair. “But, I am getting along and everything is falling in place”, she added.
Today, I have my office in Aguda. I am now unique and strong in my profession. Before my engagement at the strippers’ club, I was working as a sales representative in Lagos Island. I had hawked hypo and noodles. I also worked in a factory.
“I have plans to go to study Theatre Art in the higher institution. I am a good creative artist.
Speaking on how Janet was trained, Bruno, the Chief Inspiration Officer, Bruno’s Place said, “Janet has a beautiful story. She was a waitress in a stripper’s club. Someone saw her and brought her to Bruno’s Place. While in Bruno’s Place, we find out that she has some entrepreneurial skills, she is someone who can impact people.
I see Janet as someone who will be reaching out to others and that is why we align with her vision and we are willing to support her.
The truth is that we need to encourage women. There are lots of women who are doing men’s work and that is beauty. We have female barbers. This is the era where men want the females to cut their hair and vice versa.
Talking about Bruno’s Place, he said, “The apprentices are those who have been termed less privileged including security guards, house helps among others. They hope with their hopes dashed but in the end, they became transformed.
“We also provide a platform for them to thrive. That was why we were happy when Janet was brought to us. We identified with her vision. We are doing a social re-engineering, it is a medium to transform lives and in the process, we are making money.
“I believe that if you have a good story that is sell-able, people will also come to invest in you. Janet has a beautiful story.
“I was working in a bank and I had to resign. So, I went to learn how to cut hair. When people heard my story, they supported me and before I knew it, I am now a successful professional hairstylist.
“Before now, the belief is that those involved in this vocation are dropouts, but we are changing the narrative. We train, package, and expose our apprentices to high standards. We build their confidence and they are happy. We know the best product you can use as well as make the place convenient for our apprentices.
Efeireko Daniel was the man that met Janet at the stripper’s club. For him, it was not easy, especially bringing a young lady of 22 years out of the club.
“When I encountered her in February 2019, I spoke with her and she was totally sober and was ready to change the work. We discussed and she agreed to either be a fashion designer or a lady barber. She found solace in barbing vocation and since then, things have changed. Barbing is supposed to be a man’s world but she has proved that what a man can do, a woman can do better.
`” People come to her shop and they are amazed to see a female barber with a clipper. I thank my wife for accepting to transform her life. There were two chapters in Janet’s life. The first time, she made mistakes and I had to clean her up and the second chapter is what she is today. She is now a role modern to lots of youths in the society.
“We want to use the medium to reach out to Corporate Bodies as well as Akwa-Ibom State Government so as to help drive Janet’s dream of changing the lives of young girls on the streets.
Young ladies should be confident, focused, and determined to be relevant in their own world.
Written by Kartia Velino