I believe everyone has a 'phone voice'. You know the kind you acquire when you're about to receive a call from a number you don't know (with the mindset that this caller could be a life-changer so I better have my A-game on). It's also the voice you adopt when you dial a potential client or in my case, interviewee.
The Man With The Magic Touch
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It was this voice I had on when I dialled Sari's number the first time. You see Sari's reputation preceded him; hair stylist to the rich and famous, which automatically made him a person of interest to me. I'd had no prior encounter with him, save a quick brush on the red carpet at the Elite Model Look Nigeria event. So I really didn't know what to expect, hence 'the voice'. But when Sari came on the phone, his accent was not only more Nigerian than mine, we'd also agreed on an interview time and location under all of 3 minutes.
11 years ago, Sari hopped off a plane from Lebanon for a quick visit to Nigeria. Now, he visits Lebanon from Nigeria for 2 weeks in an entire year - how's that for irony. Having already worked as a hair stylist in his home country, Lebanon for 6 years, Sari quickly started getting offers and eventually worked in a salon for 8 years before setting up Sari Signature. Today he boasts of a clientele that includes some of Nigeria's biggest celebrities.
But hair wasn't always in the works for Sari, as a young chap in Lebanon he dreamt of becoming a chef and would have gone ahead to become one but for his inability to speak more than one language.
"Hair dressing wasn't my plan. I wanted to be a chef. But when I got to the academy they asked me what language I could speak and I couldn't speak any. They said if I want to be a chef, I must be able to speak English, French and any other language so I left because I thought it was too much and I didn't want to do too much homework."
But the manager of the academy who was a relative of Sari's mum would later show him the academy syllabus, there Sari found the option of make-up and hair-dressing and took it.
"I asked if it needed homework and mathematics and he said no, just carry your tools, come and be creative. When he said that I was very happy. So he gave a list of what to buy and I got to school and saw 25 girls in the class, I said this is what I want."
So is Sari a ladies man then?
"When I hang out with guys I'm always quiet but once there are ladies I can't stop talking, they're always listening to me. I know how to talk to a lady. Even my wife complains that when we go out I always talk to the wives and not the husbands."
After blow drying a lady's hair in his former employer's salon, Sari got about 25 clients, one of whom competed in the Big Brother Nigeria game and invited him to be the official hair stylist of the house. This would later prove to be Sari's big break.
"A client told me she was going to Big Brother Nigeria and she wanted me to be the hair dresser of the house. In the house I blow dried one of the ladies hair and transformed it from straight to curly. When I walked out, I saw 99 missed calls. That was the beginning and I started meeting celebrities from there."
But Sari refuses to be carried away by this, rather he strives for more with plans to establish more salons in Abuja, Port Harcourt and as many locations as possible.
So what is 'the' Sari signature?
"It's the glamorous layered hair cutting style and blow drying. I always strive to be different with my cutting, it differs from everyone else. Even if you go anywhere else, you'll still be asked where you cut your hair. We also use high quality products like the Micro Mist worth about £4,000/£5,000, there are only 2 of that in Nigeria. I also constantly read and update myself and our customer service is one of the best"
When Sari isn't spending quality time with his son whom he says he can forfeit everything for, he also spends time in the kitchen whipping up hot meals. He's also an avid phone lover and recently started collecting watches, beginning with a Rolex watch.
Sari who thinks he can style Kim Kardashian's hair much better than it's currently been done says over relaxing is a no-no for natural hair.
"Don't leave relaxer in hair for more than 15 minutes. It doesn't need to hurt or stay for that long. Every hair has something akin to bones in it. The relaxer is to soften the bone to make it bend, when you over relax the hair, it kills the bone. Also oil is not for weave, its for the scalp. Serum is treatment for hair, to close the tips and make it silky. Just one drop to make it shiny and it should not be every day"
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