Before becoming a full-time barber, Fidelia Adogo had dreams of becoming a military officer, but it was impossible because she had no formal education.
So she did what most people handed the same circumstances do – she migrated from Atsiave Adogokope in the Volta Region, to Accra – to make money.
Fidelia spoke only Ewe when she first moved to Accra, but that was not going to stop her from chasing her dreams.
For six years, she sold sachet water (Pure water) and fruits on the streets of Accra, speaking bits of Twi, Ga and English she picked from the streets.
Then she made a bold move by buying a barbershop at Hong Kong taxi rank at Kwashieman.
Fidelia Adogo is a 35-year-old mother of three, who has been a barber for six years now. Her clients are mixed – she cuts hair for men, women and children.
The thought of being a barber never crossed her mind, until a friend suggested it after she had given a haircut to at Barn Yard, Awoshie.
Even though the business has been a success, she faced and still faces a lot of challenges as a female barber.
In the beginning, it was family’s disdain for her chosen profession that gave her sleepless nights.
They didn’t support her decision to be a barber, because to them barbering is something men do, so it wasn’t culturally acceptable especially where she hails from, but an uncle came to her rescue.
“When I told them I wanted to be a barber initially, they were offended. They didn’t understand why I wanted to go into a male-oriented field. My uncle was very angry with me, to the point where he stopped talking to me, but now he is one of my loyal customers,” he said.
Then came the resistance from some of her male customers.
Fidelia says it took a lot of talking and convincing for them to finally agree to get their hair cut at her barbering shop but she won some over by being professional.
Elias, is a dedicated church member, who has been one of her loyal customers. He has been with Fidelia since she opened her first shop.
Elias does not mind that Fidelia is a female barber and doesn’t believe that there are specific jobs for men and specific ones for women.
Elias said he enjoys Fidelia’s services because she is patient with him and polite.
“I have been barbering with Fidelia since she had her first shop, she closed up for a while, but when I heard she re-opened a new shop, I looked for her new shop. she is good at what she does; she is very polite and patient,” he said.
But for the other men who are not her customers, they walk into her barbering shop and ask for who is in charge, and when they find out she is the one in charge, they either walk out or go as far as insulting her.
Still, she didn’t quit; she persevered because she enjoys what she does and it pays the bills.
On a slow day she cuts the hair of at least five to ten people, and on a not so slow day, she cannot count the number of people she serves.
According to Fidelia, most of her customers are people who were passing by and got drawn to her shop because they are captivated by the fact that she is a woman.
“I have had many instances where men have walked to my shop and ask for my husband, who they automatically assume is the barber, but when I tell them I am the barber, they pass unkind comments and walk out of the shop. Some of them later come back to apologise, because they either saw a fellow man getting a cut from my shop or they saw someone who got a haircut from me,” she said.
Fidelia used to make GHC 1000 a month when times were good, but she doesn’t make that kind of money anymore.
But what she makes now isn’t so bad, she is able to pay her bills, take care of her family and save.
she spends 100 to 150 Ghana cedis on electricity in a month
“I have made over a 1000 cedis before, but I don’t make that much now, but I make enough to pay for electricity and take care of my family,” he said.
Fidelia has no intention of quitting barbering; she intends to get a bigger shop and expand to other parts of Accra.
Fidelia gets support from her little brother and her boyfriend who helps her in the running her shop.
Fidelia wants to serve as an inspiration to young girls and women, and prove to them that, anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and there is nothing like a man’s job or field.
“I advise some of my friends who have been asking about barbering to give it a try if they are interested. It is easy, and they can do it if they put their mind to it, they can do anything,” she said.