Dawodu (27) was a soccer player in his home country and dreamed of being a professional player. He made his way to South Africa in 2013, where he engaged with a number of football clubs until he got bitten by the “nail bug” about two years later.
“The year 2015 was when I came to Braam [Braamfontein in Johannesburg]. I didn’t know how to do nails and I asked a woman how to do nails because I didn’t have a job. She said she knew I didn’t know how to do nails, but she would give me the opportunity.”
Since then, Dawodu has grown his Instagram page @Adenails to encompass over 6 000 followers – all women dying to have their nails done by him. He managed to gain the followers in under two years because of his creativity.
“When you start off, it’s hard, I’ve had impatient clients. Getting my own space is also a challenge, rent isn’t cheap, but for now, I don’t mind sharing space with hairstylists.”
Ladies are seen on a daily basis flocking to the salon where Ade operates from – some found him online, while others are referrals or walk-ins.
“I see myself opening my own nail bar, where people can chill and have a good time while getting their nails done,” says Dawodu.
He’s shown there’s no limit to being an entrepreneur. He’s tapped into an industry that’s generally seen as a woman’s field and is earning a living from it with great growth prospects. “Per week, I do more than 50 hands – on average, they pay R350.”
In Braamfontein, there are salons at every corner, all of them equipped with nail technicians, and with male technicians becoming a trend. Thus far, Nigerian men have dominated the nail scene.