Bessie Duke-Odu: The Flair Hair Academy was born out of my refusal to rest on my oars

Bessie Duke-Odu
Africa has come of age and needs to get industrialized hence sharing my expertise through the Academy Click To Tweet

Bessie Duke-Odu is the Proprietress and Lead Posticheur at Flair Hair Academy (Nigeria’s foremost Human Hair Academy). With a degree in Microbiology, she started off merchandising human hair and hair accessories and in 2010. The Bessie consciously decided to delve further into the research, manufacturing procedures and processes of human hair.

She is Korean-trained by the renowned John Korea Hair School in South Korea. Bessie has also acquired degrees from various institutions in Germany, the United States, China and the United Kingdom.

Bessie Duke-Odu is also a World Bank Scholar, an alumna of the prestigious Enterprise Development Centre (PAN-ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY), a professional member of the Complementary Therapist Association (UK) and is listed in the Embody Magazine UK as a qualified service provider.

Can you tell us what most people don’t know about you?

Hmm…that’s a broad one. Over the top of my head, I’d say my tenacity. I rarely give up on things or people. I’d rather buy furniture from IKEA where I can lay the manual out flat, assemble the bolts and every other fitting accessory and work my way to the finished look.

You have a degree in Microbiology, why did you go into merchandising human hair and hair accessories?

Now, that sounds like two extremes but I guess I naturally flowed to my inherent side. As early as when I was 8-9 years old, I could weave hair and I picked that up by just watching.

At the time when I started merchandising, running the hair and accessories enterprise gave me the ample time to tend my new baby and adjust to motherhood without the pressures of a paid 9-5 whilst still being economically viable.

What lead you to start Flair Hair Academy?

Flair Hair Academy was born out of my refusal to rest on my oars, challenging status quo as it were. Essentially with the knowledge acquired over time, floating a range of wholly made in Nigeria hairline would’ve been exclusive to me. But Africa has come of age and needs to get industrialized hence sharing my expertise through the Academy.

What’s one thing about your industry that you didn’t expect before getting into it?

As the progenitor in this, it has its first mover advantages as well as disadvantages. Acquiring knowledge has been hugely capital intensive. Nonetheless, every accomplishment begins with the decision to try as successful self-actualization lies just outside your comfort zone.

Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try - Bessie Duke-Odu Click To Tweet

You’ve been trained in South Korea, China, Germany, and the United States, can you tell us a bit about that and why you decided to choose these countries?

Absolutely, I realize that knowledge is power but it takes my enthusiasm to keep pulling that switch. From my research, I discovered that Korea played a huge role during the early years of world industrialization especially after wig making moved to the East.

All the named countries have what is unique to them and I am glad to give enrollees a good mix. As an ardent learner, I never restrict my self-development to capital or anything else. I would rather trade in my phone or other paraphernalia to learn a new skill than to walk around with all of that unskilled.

I also recognize that going to YouTube to feed off all sorts is an option but I made a conscious and informed decision to research and invest; knowing that a small amount of knowledge can mislead people into thinking that they are more expert than they really are.

I'd trade in my phone to learn a new skill than to walk around with all of that unskilled Click To Tweet

What kinds of services do you offer?

Our bailiwick is in training, handing down well-researched hair manufacturing skills to people who value their development. We train people on how to set up mini hair factories, improve existing salon services, upscale human hair businesses from just buying and selling to production capacity thus reducing to the barest minimum importation on finished hair goods into the country/continent. We also offer contract manufacturing to hair vendors.

Our courses include

  • Machine Wefting,
  • Wig Making,
  • Human Hair Texturing,
  • Hackling,
  • Wig posting,
  • Preparation of raw hair,
  • Handtied Wefting,
  • Human Hair Processing and
  • Human Hair dyeing.

We have an upcoming Wig Making Workshop this July and enrollees will learn the history of Postiche, how to ventilate a closure, frontal, full wigs, create templates, lace repairs and so on, all from scratch.

We help them develop their value proposition and build a sustainable business model canvas. At Flair Hair Acamedy, we have had enrollees from Cameroon, Kenya and within Nigeria. Practically anyone (novice or hair guru) can go through our training and learn the ropes effectively.

What do you think makes Flair Hair Academy different from others?

Simply put, our resolve for greatness and constantly outdoing ourselves.

What movie did you watch recently that stood out to you?

Aww…. Definitely “Me Before You”. I teared up and got very emotional. It is a must watch. Look for it!

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