Ever since he was in high school, Jimmy Jey Ngare loved barbering, but it was by default that he got into the profession that has earned him a National Award.
“While I was in high school, I would visit a barber friend of mine and spend time reading the magazines that he kept for the customers,” says Jimmy.
It was while here that Jimmy Jey got fascinated by Onyi Papa kinyozi’s work. He would watch as the veteran barber would shave his customers at Lake View Estate in Nakuru and his fingers always itched for a chance to hold the finger.
His chance came while he was in Form three in 2008. Onyi Papa was away having left Jimmy Jey perusing through the magazines when a young schoolboy came to the barbershop. While the boy expressed his desire to get shaved, Jimmy Jey did not think twice about getting down to business.
Papa Onyi who was to be his early mentor returned while Jimmy was fully engrossed in trying out his hand. Instead of reprimanding the young enthusiastic learner who was suddenly apprehensive, he encouraged him to carry on and guided him to the end.
Thus kicked off a passion that was to turn out to be a lucrative business for Jimmy. He would be at Papa Onyi’s barbershop every Saturday and Sunday ready to learn more and after his high school at Flamingo High School, he joined Papa the barber full time.
Jimmy Jey’s Mother guiding hand
“Being the firstborn, my mother requested that I help her in supporting the family after high school. She had noticed my passion as an upcoming barber and supported me in my quest to get better,” says Jimmy.
It was again due to his mother’s nudging that he left the barbershop at lake View estate that came to Nakuru town.
“My mom noticed that I could do much better if I stopped working at the local Kinyozi and came to town. He sadly bid goodbye to Papa Onyi in 2010 and started working at Rick’s Kinyozi then based in the town Centre.
“This is where I polished my skills. I learnt new skills and got introduced to a new set of clients and for two and a half years, I worked here until I was poached by a friend,” reveals Jimmy.
Now a polished young man, confident and an expert in his art, Jimmy joined an executive barbershop where he again worked for two years.
“The clients here were different. They were higher in the social class, paid more and they helped me learn and earn even more,” says Jimmy. However, while here, the entrepreneurial bug bit him.
It was also a sad time for Jimmy because, in 2014, he lost his mother who has always supported, encouraged and pushed him to achieve more. He gave his life to Jesus back then and is still saved attending service at Glorious Restoration Church.
“It had always been my mother’s wish that I get saved and I’ve never regretted accepting Christ as my personal saviour,” discloses Jimmy.
Jimmy Jey the entrepreneur
For every shilling he made in his efforts, he would share with the barbershop owner by half. Jimmy rightly felt that if he was running his own business, he would be pocketing all the earnings for himself.
“I set up my mind on setting up my own business. I aggressively continued saving to raise money to start my own business and in December 2014, I resigned. On 7th January 2015, I officially started working as my own boss after setting Jimmy Jey Barber at Sokoni Plaza,” reveals the youthful entrepreneur.
Jimmy has always taken his work seriously. He says for any person to succeed, discipline, focus and passion are important ingredients and this is what has seen him grow to whom he is today.
He later expanded his enterprise and shifted to Masters Plaza along Kenyatta Avenue in Nakuru CBD.
“I am not only an entrepreneur, but am also an employer with six employees now,” says the humble expert coiffeur and hairstylist.
Apart from barbering, Jimmy has also set up a beauty parlour. The beauty parlour specializes in manicure, pedicure, facials, makeups, gel application, foot massage and soon he will be introducing full body massage.
Giving back to the community
Many things set Jimmy Jey apart from the rest. His customers always have a positive word to say about him and this positive word of mouth has seen his business grow from strength to strength.
“I just love his work and creativity,” says a lady customer Lynette Koki who has in the past displayed Jimmy Jey’s expertise on Facebook showering praise on him and recommending him.
“Jimmy has a way of always exceeding your expectations and his customer care is top-notch,” says Lynnette, on of the many contented clients who visit Jimmy Jey’s beauty parlour.
Once in a while, Jimmy and his crew visit children’s homes in Nakuru offering free barbering services. He will even be seen on the streets serving street families.
“It is our little way of giving back to the community. We also visit the elderly at their places of residence and give the hair care services at no charge at all,” narrates Jimmy.
Jimmy Jey – Best Barber around
During the Hair, Beauty and Personal Care Expo that happened on 1st and 2nd July this year, Jimmy Jey emerged as one of the top barbers in Kenya. As the first runners up, it was a big win for the young man who started barbering at a kiosk in Nakuru’s Lake View estate.
“I was the only nominee from Nakuru which was a big honour,” says Jimmy coyly.
He says the expo was an eye-opener exposing him to other experts in the field and the fact that he came a strong second is a vindication of his proficiency.
With the win came a lot of publicity which Jimmy says has gone a long way in boosting his trade. He was awarded by the organizers with shaving machines, cash and products.
The beauty parlours are open from Monday to Saturday from 8 AM to 9 PM but closed on Sundays. It is, however, open on public holidays except for Christmas.
Jimmy says he has no regrets whatsoever for having chosen this profession and given another chance he would still choose to barber,
Photos by James Wakibia