When this Hair-Braiding went viral on TikTok for its services within two hours, there was a flood of customers heading straight to her.
Salons are a business that is all about maximum quality in the minimum amount of time because all the potential customers have really busy lives. They want quick, clean and great wonders of work within the little time they’ve been able to take out of their strictly planned lives. When Nadine—who goes by @nadinehairbraiding on TikTok—a professional hair braider in Bowie, Maryland, posted a TikTok video offering hair braiding services costing “$180 hair included, Medium, Waist Length, Knotless, done in under two hours,” the video went viral and people opted to drive for over an hour, all the way from York, Pennsylvania, to Nadine’s shop. However, this didn’t come easy for Nadine.
Nadine Djuiko is a Cameroonian immigrant who’s been hustling hard to make a successful living in the US. She took on many roles in the country as a banking student and a braider to earn her living and to support her relatives as well, per The Washington Post. Two years ago, Nadine finally got a break in her braiding career after a famous TikTok influencer reviewed the salon in 2021 and praised her cost-friendly quality of braiding services. Her business survived the economically crushing pandemic as well, all thanks to her solid customer base and braider community. Nadine credits her braiders for making her feel at home while being away from home. Her team of braiders comprises refugees or asylum seekers who’ve left their war-struck homeland of Cameroon and are dependent on their skills as a braider to make a living for themselves as well as their families back home. Nadine shared that the fact that so many dreams and hopes rely on her business puts her under immense pressure when the business is slow or a crisis strikes.
About the struggles back home, Nadine shared, “We’re passing a hard time in Cameroon. Most of them have a huge responsibility of taking care of their parents and siblings. Some of them have to pay back the money they were loaned to come to America. Some people wake up in the morning (and hear) that (attackers) kidnapped their sister or their child. They still have to survive here and pay the rent.” She is a mom of five and hustles like a boss each day, running on less than three hours of sleep and her phone is constantly blowing up with queries from customers about styles and costs before they actually make that trip to her shop. She offers her services from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m., and her USP is offering all kinds of braiding to be done in under three hours and only walk-ins.
The shop is now bustling with customers, so much so that her husband, Jules-Valey Djouonda, has quit his IT job to help his wife manage her business. Talking about the pressures that come with it, Nadine said, “This business is a blessing, but it also comes with a lot of pressure. Everyone wishes to be successful, but no one realizes the burden of that success.” The success of her business is evident from the plentiful queries that are flooding her TikTok comments section. @fungaimafara asked, "Hey, love your work. How much for shoulder-length braids?” and this isn’t the only query that’s popping up in Nadine’s TikTok comments. People are also asking whether they "do braids over locs?” Though Nadine promises that the braids can be done in under three hours, @bellac1820 commented, “I went there today, it took 6.5 hours for small medium knotless braids I got the same braids a year ago and it took 3.5 hours, make it make sense.” However, the truth about it remains debatable.
Nadine’s story definitely brings to light the beauty of hard work, believing in yourself and growing with others around you. No success comes sweet, easy and alone. An entourage of people carry each other forward and that’s how you build an empire and Nadine is halfway there.