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On the weave fast-track


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On the weave fast-track

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BARBADIAN WOMEN’S LOVE AFFAIR with weave and hair extensions will not be over anytime soon, says hairstylist Kelly-Ann Bowen.

Labelled the “weave queen” by her clients, she said that the hairstyle which is increasing in popularity was always in demand at Crop Over and her appointment book which “is almost full” was evidence of this.

“One time, weaves or extensions were more of a luxury item that only people with money would do. Now, with the weave industry growing so much, you have so many options in terms of weaving. There are items you can put on your hair that make it look as though it is parted and the hair is growing out of your head without showing any of your hair.

“It has become such a big thing now that everybody is getting it done and everybody is finding a way to afford it,” Bowen said.

Weaves, she noted, can cost anywhere between $100 and $200 depending on the stylist. She noted that everyone’s prices and quality were not the same but people would go with the price range they could afford.

“There are people within everybody’s price range,” she added.

At this time of the year, Bowen said, women opt to have weaves because they are more manageable and versatile. Some people add hair for length, colour or body and with several of them attending more events they want the ease which comes with it.

She operates By Kelly B from a salon in Montrose, Christ Church, but her love affair with hair started when she was at primary school and grew when she attended Combermere School.

“I was always into doing hair. When I was younger, I did my classmates’ hair and my teachers too, primary and secondary school,” she said with a chuckle.

“I started out braiding at first, that’s all I used to do, and then I branched out while working at a salon in Bridgetown a few years ago. Eventually I stopped doing braids and started doing all types of other things.

“My speciality is weaving and extensions really; any type of extension, fusions, sew-ins, any type of weave, that’s what I’m mostly known for. They call me the weave queen. I’ve never been to a cosmetology school but had a lot of in-salon training from head stylists who are certified. That’s how I was trained,” she said.

Bowen is grateful to the head stylists who trained her but she always knew she wanted to have her own salon and she moved on.

“I started building my clientele through Facebook because every time I left work, I would have one or two clients and I would take pictures and post them on Facebook. I found that from there everything started building I used to work fewer days once my clientele was built. It was a major step but I wasn’t afraid to do it because I always aspired to have my own salon and my own clientele, build my own name,” she said.

The hairstylist noted that her clients liked the fact that an appointment for a weave does not equate to being in her chair for the entire day.

“I have been doing this for so long and I’m so meticulous at doing things that I’ve gotten a lot faster and I think that is one thing that has really built my clientele because I do it really fast. I can do a weave in an hour-and-a-half to two hours, whereas most people would have an experience with being at the salon a whole day or five or six hours for a weave. Over time I got a lot faster and that’s what I’m known for too,” she said with a laugh.

Bowen noted that a curly weave would take about 90 minutes with “proper corn rows” being done before the “proper sew-in” takes place. The other styles using “other types of hair” however, would take more time averaging two to three hours regardless of the style or number of packs of hair being used.

If she is working from nine a.m. to seven p.m. she can apply five to six weaves during that time, more obviously if she works till midnight.

She said that in order to keep up with the latest techniques in the industry she has attended several workshops and seminars in Barbados and Trinidad hosted by stylists and the providers of the brand that she uses on her clients’ fair. She also does online tutorials and follows her favourite stylists on Instagram and other social media.

The hairstylist is determined to achieve her goal of opening By Kelly B in her own space within the next two years. (GBM)

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