#HoutBayBusinessFocus No.2 The IY Salon

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Solomon Safo, owner of Salon Kids&P

When we drop by “Kids&P” hair salon on a windy weekday afternoon in Imizamo Yethu, there is a definite buzz inside the brightly painted container. While hair gets washed at the basin by one pair of hands, and expertly braided by another, three women wait on the bench for their turn, and everyone is immersed in chat and laughter. You get the impression that a couple of hours spent here would result in feeling, as well as looking, better!

It’s been running since 2007 and employs three people. “So far, so good” says the owner, Solomon Safo, who is originally Ghanaian and came to South Africa in 2002 to complete his education. He admits that there is plenty of competition when it comes to getting your hair plaited in IY but says that they do well for several strategic reasons. For one thing, they open later than many salons – until 8 or 9pm – allowing people to come in after they finish a long day’s work. And they only do women’s (and children’s) hair, because they found that mixing sexes sometimes led to female customers being subject to unwelcome attention. He likes to think of Kids&P being a “safe space for women”, as well as a business place.

Solomon – also known as “Kofi”, which he explains is the name traditionally given in Ghana to any male born on a Friday – explains that being a ‘foreigner’ leads to many Ghanaians setting up businesses. “It is hard for us to get a job here, so we create our own businesses, and then we can work our hardest. We come with a little bit of money from home and start something up. We try to get together and help each other out, and lend each other money to get started”

Braiding at Kids&Play, Imizamo Yethu

Solomon owns the container but pays rent to the owner of the plot. He only runs the one salon currently but would like to set up another – possibly outside of Cape Town, as he’s finding there’s little space left in I-Y. For the sake of both hair and happiness we hope he finds that second site!
Kids&Play is on OR Tambo Road in Imizamo Yethu. Appointments are on a first-come-first-served basis.
#HoutBayBusinessFocus is a series of posts about local businesses in Hout Bay. Powered by the Hout Bay Partnership, making the connection between local government, business and community.