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Haircut and a chat

Luke Raiwalui
Friday, February 02, 2018

OPERATING a barber shop is not an easy job and 18-year-old Vasiti Maisalevutu knows this for a fact.

The second eldest of six children knows how to ply her trade and make enough money to assist her parents put her four younger siblings to school.

Being a Drekeniwai native in Cakaudrove, Ms Maisalevutu says the true spirit of never surrendering is something that keeps her going every day.

Ms Maisalevutu cuts both men and women's hair giving her undivided attention to her clients as they step into her barber shop to cool themselves in the airconditioned room and wait for their turn to get a haircut.

"I have been operating for a year now and this barber shop, known as the Alpha Barber Shop located at the Marina Plaza Arcade in Savusavu Town, is in fact my sister's, Lagilagi Saugadrevi," she said.

"Being in the business last year to help my sister has been an eyeopener for me.

"If there is anything that I have learnt during this phase, it is that having a good heart and attitude takes one a very long way.

"People are not drawn to the business because of its reputation, they are drawn to those who run the business."

Ms Maisalevutu says the barber shop is for all people on Vanua Levu as they served people of all ages and gender.

"I mostly have male clients who come in to get their haircut and it is always nice to talk to them and learn of developments wherever they come from," she said.

"I take pride in my work because I give people a new lease of life, giving them a new look every time they walk in to get a haircut.

"My short-term plan is to go back to school to sharpen and learn professional haircutting techniques at Fiji National University.

"In fact ,the skill I have now, I learnt from my sister and it has taken me a long way."

Ms Maisalevutu said people could access her services at a cheaper cost adding it was available easily for people in Savusavu.

"For adult men, it costs $5 and primary schoolchildren and under are charged $4 while women are charged $15 for a haircut," she said.

"I am now helping my parents Sevanaia and Silika Maisalevutu with money for my four younger siblings who are still in school.

"If anything, this work has taught me to be stronger and to realise that nothing comes easy until one works hard.

"Being a woman in this field has its challenges and benefits but I take every day as it comes."

Ms Maisalevutu said she started by trimming some of the boys' hair in her neighbourhood.

"Back then I was just using one trimmer and scissors," Ms Maisalevutu said. "Every day I would try to learn, from the time I would cut hair in my neighbourhood to when I moved on to each new location.

"My approach was to cut each individual's hair as if I was giving myself a haircut and that was the attitude I kept every time I picked up the clippers to work.

Ms Maisalevutu said the fade haircut was a common cut among men relying on having the hair on the sides and back of the head cut in length gradually until no more hair is left.

"It has become a style popular with men around the world for its clean look and finish," she said.

"I enjoy my work and look forward to starting work every day to meet people and learn of the different situations and issues they face at the same time learning from their experiences."

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