At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, finding time to fit in essential tasks like visiting a barber was a challenge.
Barkat Manji, a renowned barber, thought about ways of giving his clients the most, and started bringing the service to the client.
For Ksh 3,000 per session, the barber started offering home services in his customized Mercedes Benz van.
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Here is his story as told by WoK.
By the time the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, Manji had already gotten a sizeable number of returning clients.
With the restrictions that came along with the pandemic, he started doing door-to-door haircut services.
“I was just sitting with my friend watching videos on YouTube about mobile barbershops abroad and I was like, ‘this is such a great idea, why don’t we just be the first’,” he said.
However, while at it, he realized that conditions at his clients’ homes were, sometimes, not conducive for his trade.
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“Everyone wanted me to go to their house, so I just decided to let me do something that will be more comfortable
“I could go to someone’s house and they sit on a stool, and I found it uncomfortable for me as a barber,” Manji said.
On average, he spends about 15 hours on his van tending to clients from different areas within Nairobi and it’s surrounding towns.
He attends to an average of 10 clients a day.
“The traffic is a challenge. The reason why I sleep for a few hours some times is because of the traffic. If I’m supposed to tend to a client at 5 am, that means I have to be up by 4 am,” he said.
Manji markets his business through social media.
He has shaved among other Kenyan celebrities former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and musician Prezzo among others.
He charges Ksh 3,000 per haircut; inclusive of a head massage and facials.
“It’s not bad, to be honest. If you think about it, most barbershops charge low, like Ksh 1,000, but the client will spend time on the road and coming from very far. They will spend fuel, spend money for parking,” Manji said.
His car, a Mercedes Sprinter, is electric and is supported by solar panels and batteries.
“It can carry up to 2 tonnes and it’s very spacious. It fits all electronics. I chose this car because of that and because it’s a Mercedes, it’s a plus
“When it’s cloudy then it becomes a bit of a challenge. I have to charge it at home and that lasts for about five hours. And that would not be enough for me in a day,” Manji explained.
Manji has employed two people; a beautician and the driver.
“You are not paying for a haircut. You are paying for the convenience. You are not moving from where you are, may it be at the gym, restaurant, hotel, house. Wherever you are, I’ll come there,” he said.
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