Many folks are now embracing their natural hair (I’m one of them, always have been) and mainly because there are now several #naturalista products in the market. Considering how women can be adventurous when it comes to hair, it’s a booming industry with still a lot of room for those who are yet to venture into it.
So we caught up with one of the gurus in the industry; Steve Kumari -Founder of ROOTS hair salon, one of the most popular salons in Nairobi. ROOTS is well known for manufacturing their own products and the salon is made up of a professional and dedicated team of experts who ensure to give the best service when it comes to dreadlocks, haircuts and natural hair.
It doesn’t take long to notice that Steve is not only humble, but a quick and smart thinker which are probably some of the qualities that have gotten him very far; not to mention he is very easy on the eye. So we picked his brain a little bit.
Who is Steve- I’m a God-fearing, go-getter who is passionate about the youth and I use every platform I can to encourage them to be anything they set their minds to. I also love all things hair and for the longest time I thought about what I could do in order to improve the quality of hair service in Kenya.
First Job- Cleaner at a salon, after which I became the shampoo boy and messenger. I always had an interest in hair, so I took it upon myself to learn the basic skills and took it to the next level. This was my turning point.
How ROOTS stands out from the crowd- We manufacture our own hair treatments and oils for natural hair. We use these products at ROOTS and also sell them to other salons. Our products are made from natural and locally available ingredients only- coconut, aloe vera, keratin and natural proteins. We have a great demand for them worldwide- mainly Germany, Australia, Uganda, and UK.
Best Career Highlights- In 2006, I was honoured to travel to the UK where I was called to train a group of young people on hair tactics and hair care. This grew my passion for speaking to the youth and being a positive influence on them. I have trained a total of 37 youths so far and issued them with certificates. Also, I won best influential barber in 2012 and have styled several public figures-News anchors, musicians, actors, DJ’s and government officials. Shout out to DJ Moz who shared with me the vision of introducing modern-stylish dreadlocks which were only popular abroad a few years ago.
How many clients in a day- (smiles with satisfaction) Many! I thank God.
Motivation to your team- My team is made up of worker bees- I lead by example, I’m up by 5am and get to work at 7am. I consider myself not a boss to them, but a father figure who leads by action.
Chat with President Uhuru, what would you say- I would ask him what his favourite drink was…(chuckles)…I would also discuss with him, ways in which we could get the public talking in order to come up with a strategy to get rid of female genital mutilation (FGM) practices in Kenya for good.
Your best weekends- I spend all weekends with my family, I also love to sing and listen to gospel music together with my son who is an upcoming DJ.
Favourite food- I love Irio from back home in Meru, fish straight from Lake Victoria and Nubian pilau which I enjoyed having grown up in Kibera.
Role Model- Anybody who is a great and positive influence by being the best version of themselves; I also have mad respect for pioneers of the arts industry in Kenya, like Daddy Owen, DJ Pinye, Nazizi, MOG and many more. I love supporting our very own local talent.
Punch line – Young people please apply your God-given talents and always have a mentor. Balance out your life and be the best version of you every day. Always be disciplined, believe in God and start building your own empire as early as you can. It’s never too early if you want to enjoy your later years.
Of course we could not let him go without giving us tips on taking care of natural hair;
Hair Tips by Steve:
Always moisturize your hair with natural ingredients ie proteins, aloe vera, coconut oil, keratin
Ensure not to expose your hair to too much heat all the time ie blow-dry, flat iron
Wash your hair weekly or after every two weeks
Always trim your ends for healthy growth
He thanked us, apologizing that he had to leave in a rush since a client was waiting. He promises a hair treat for the team!