Wow Braids is a hair styling company based in Nigeria that specializes in manufacturing and selling wigs. We aim to build a brand that represents the future of the black hair industry and we want to unlock the potential of young Nigerian women by providing employment opportunities to them.
Young women in Nigeria seek stability in their income, employment opportunities to acquire valuable skills and financial inclusion. Unfortunately, 55,4% of the Nigerian youth is either unemployed or underemployed. Young women face even higher rates of unemployment and underemployment with a 26,6% compared to 20,3% of men. The reason for this is early marriage, children, and a low rate of enrolment in schools.
Wow Braids wants to face the economic inequalities and challenges faced by young women in rural Nigeria, focussing on the large population of underemployed and unemployed young women in Abuja. As the demand for wigs grows within the target demographic of Wow Braids, there is a unique employment opportunity that can be created to meet the aspirations of young Nigerian women. As young women are currently unable to participate in the production of hair products due to a lack of training, complex export processes and limited capital, we want to create employment by offering training to young women. Our goal is to train 1,500 women to become Wow Braids suppliers for wigs, closures, and caps.
To provide decent jobs to young women, we want to train them on producing various hair products and provide them with all the logistics and marketing activities that are required to make a sustainable source of income for women. We plan on doing this by using the STEEC approach – Sourcing, Training, Employment, Empowerment and Community. This approach focusses on sourcing unemployed and underpaid women in target communities, providing them in-depth training by expert facilitator. Simultaneously it offers flexible employment opportunities, fosters community building, emotional support, and personal development. As young Nigerian women can have other responsibilities besides work, we find it important to create flexible working hours for them.
By positioning Wow Braids as a platform in which training and support is provided, we give young women in rural areas a sustainable employment opportunity in the global hair industry. We believe that by offering employment, we also create a positive impact on the economic welfare of the beneficiaries and the communities in which they reside. Our goal is to empower young women to take control over their futures and be financially stable in the long term by employing over 1500 young women in Abuja. To achieve this, we will partner with industry experts in addition to our in-house resources to train and onboard the women into our supplier network.
CFYE will provide technical assistance which will support business development, branding and operations. With this assistance the project will be better designed, will proceed rapidly and it will allow us to reach more young people than we otherwise would have reached. It will also help to invest in skill development and benefit programs, allowing us to provide more decent wages, safer working conditions, and create more opportunities for beneficiaries to grow their careers.
With the help of CFYE we will also be able to scale up operations by providing the funds for mass training, also allowing us to develop new product lines. Finally, it will support us with the high cost of imported inputs such as closures and caps by training women to produce them locally and therefore enable Wow Braids to increase its investment in marketing distribution.