Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Edee Beau Hair and Makeup Studios

“Room temperature or ice cold?”. I responded with the “whatchutalkinboutWillis?” expression on my face. “Some people are fussy so I always ask my clients how they like their water”, Edee explained. “Well…” I thought to myself. “Hospitality or what!”. A minute earlier, myself and Dami (Trashy Gobs) had entered Edee Beau Hair and Makeup Studios in East London. Greeted with her signature, beaming smile, we were welcomed in, Edee offered us both a beverage and insisted we made ourselves feel at home. To be honest, the latter wasn’t hard to do at all. The minimalistic, modern, yet chic look to her studio channelled a cosy and warm ambiance while Afro-beats, R ‘n’ B and hip-hop played in the background. This, accompanied with her friendly personality, was enough to put even the most introverted of clients at ease.

Discussion ranged from good hair and weave to fashion to general chit chat about ourselves.“I’m so nosey”, she openly admitted, but to me, Edee’s interest in her clients doesn’t make her come across as a busybody. Far from, in fact. You can tell she just genuinely cares and wants to get to know you beyond the client-stylist formality. She offers more than just make-up and hair services. She offers an experience.
I went for ice cold water, by the way. 
Twenty-something-year-old Edee, whose full name is Editi Udofot, has been doing hair for as long as she can remember. “I’ve always done hair”, she tells me, “I learnt by taking baby steps. Practice makes perfect, as the say. Even at lunchtimes in secondary school, I used to cornrow and bond my friends' hair. Funnily enough…”, she digressed, “…I hate glue. It breaks hair.”

After obtaining a few NVQs in beauty therapy and hairdressing, not to mention a business degree, Edee decided that it was time she turned what she loved doing into a full time career and in 2009 Edee Beau the brand was born. “I thought ‘Beau’, which means beautiful in French, is perfect because my job is about beautifying ladies. I’m Nigerian and ‘Beau’ is actually an acronym for all the siblings’ names: Betse, Editi (me), Akwere and Ukeme.” She’s certainly kept the day-to-day running of her business in the family: Her brother, Akwere, takes care of all the administrative duties. “He’s great. I don’t know what I’d do without him.” She affectionately expresses, “Got to give him a little praise every now and again.” Meanwhile, making no attempt to disguise that he had been eavesdropping in on the interview, Akwere casually bops past with the biggest Cheshire cat grin you can imagine.



Edee became a freelance stylist and after getting good responses about her work, decided it made perfect sense to also specialise in make-up. “Hair and make-up go well together. Over the years, I built up my clientele through referrals and in October 2011, I opened my first hair and make-up studios, here.” After correcting me by pointing out that I wasn’t in a ‘salon’, I was eager for her to explain what she meant: “Salons provide various hair treatments. I style hair and make people up; that’s why I call it a makeover studio.” Oh, well that was me told. It made sense.

Offering hair and make-up services for all occasions, including birthdays and weddings, Edee also provides styling for commercial photo shoots and sells her own brand of Peruvian and Brazilian hair extensions. Her famous clients include Nigerian actress Funke Akindele and British actor Noel Clark, to name but a couple.

Though quite an easy-going person, when it comes to professionalism, she doesn’t mess around. A normal day consists of back-to-back appointments, meetings, shoots and tweeting. Filling me in on one of her pet peeves she explains: “Hair and make-up is by appointment only and I can’t stand clients not turning up on time. I’m not talking about 10 or 15 minutes late, I’m talking over two hours late. One didn’t even call to cancel. Now if a client is late past a certain point, they simply have to re-schedule.”



Providing a service with a smile and a sisterly chat, not forgetting her expertise in immaculate weave installation, there’s no wonder her clients stay loyal. “I think trust is the most important factor in the client-stylist relationship. At the same time, just because I’m the stylist doesn’t mean that I know it all. It’s just as important for me to listen. As a stylist, I have to be open to learn, be able to accept when I’m wrong and realise that I can’t be right all the time. That’s why the consultation before I begin styling a client is so important. The most rewarding thing about my job is when I’ve finished and they’re pleasantly surprised and say “Oh my God, Edee. I look amazing!” That makes my day. I’m not inventive,” she admits, “but I work on perfecting what I do best, and that’s voluminous, long, curly hair.”

I wondered where Edee drew her inspiration from: “Celebrities: Kim K, Kelly Roland... If they can look beautiful in weaves then so can we.”

Identifying popular trends, she points out how vibrant colour is all the rage at the moment. She predicts that red and blond will be very popular this spring/summer and with recently dyed bright red hair, she’s got her finger on the pulse. Dami has too. She was ready to get her hair did. She had dyed her extensions a lovely plum purple prior to the fitting on the day.



Dami's Mini Review

1. Atmosphere and presentation (ambiance, layout and look of studio, vibe)

As soon as I entered the studio, I was flabbergasted. The setting, layout & environment were warm and welcoming. I immediately felt at home. First thing she did was welcome us in and offered us a drink. How polite.

2. Professionalism (timekeeping, care taken while doing hair, how she presents herself etc)

I'd give her a 5* in the professionalism area. As soon as I got comfortable, she began observing my hair. Trying to understand the sate of it a bit more and took extreme care whilst doing it. She presented her self in a very professional yet fun manner. Felt like I'd known her for years. 

3. Communication (Was interest shown in client? Did she listen to your needs? Did she make you feel at ease? etc) 

Intense interest was shown. We spoke about our origin up to relationships and even travelling. My time there was filled with laughter and much more.

4. Results (Were you happy with the end result and look of your hair?)

I am more than happy with the end result. The horns did not stop going off, neither did the whistling. Thank you Edee.

5. Overall score: 5/5
Dami's final look. Gorge!
Edee and Dami
GETTING TO KNOW EDEE BEAU 

If you had to choose between hair and make-up for the rest of your life, which would it be? 
Oh! I love make-up but as I don’t have naturally lovely hair and cannot live without my hair done, I’d have to pick hair. But I love make-up!

If you were sent off to live on a desert island for a month and you could only take two beauty items and two hair items, what would they be? 
Beauty would be Vaseline and tweezers. I need neat eyebrows and have to have well moisturised lips.
Hair would be my extensions. Can I chuck in thread and needle or is that cheating? My second item would have to be a hairband, because I prefer to keep my hair out of my face.

HairStraight or curly? Curly
Heat styling or none-heat styling? Really? Heat styling!!
Weave length: long, medium or short? LOOONG!
Bold lips with neutral face OR nude lip with a pop of colour to the eyes? Bold lip. It’s so much easier to keep the rest of the face neutral.
Liquid liner or gel liner? Gel liner.
False lashes or mascara? False lashes! I love my false lashes.
Gloss or lipstick? Lipstick, these days.
Designer or high street? High street any day! 


So what’s next for Edee Beau? “I want to build brand awareness and a team; I’m thinking of starting my own range of eyelashes and open up a few more studios too. I’d love to work internationally but I’m scared of travelling.”

After she finished off curling Dami’s hair, Edee ushered us out and wished us a safe journey home. It was a lovely morning and didn’t feel like a trip to the hairdresser's at all.

If you’d like to see more of Edee, she’s an avid YouTuber so you can check out her channel: ‘edeebeau1’. She does make-up tutorials, how-tos and showcases her skills through 'before and after' videos of her clients.

Connect with Edee Beau
Web: www.edeebeau.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/edeebeau
Twitter: www.twitter.com/edeebeau
YouTube: www.youtube.com/edeebeau1

(I took these photos using my Canon EOS 500D with 1.4 50mm lens)

As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique



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