Hair brand Kuku’s Hair is undoubtedly one of the leading luxury hair brands in the country. Owing to its exquisite luxurious hair, which includes a range of colours and trendy designs. Led by Akunna Nwala-Akano, the brand has amassed a cult following of IT fashion girls including Toke Makinwa.

Recently, GQ South Africa caught up with Nwala-Akano to chat about her business ventures and everything in between.


On how she defines beauty and her opinion on the beauty industry as a whole

For me, the idea of beauty is personal and varies from person to person. My perception of beauty is any look that radiates my femininity, and softness, and that is daring but in moderation.

When people think of the beauty industry, they think about glamour, but it’s so much more than that. The beauty industry has been able to provide materials to help individuals boost their confidence and live a more fulfilling life, through innovations that have been created and tailor-made to meet very specific needs of individuals.

On what concerns her the most about the beauty industry 

I have a lot to unpack here and they all go hand in hand. Firstly, there aren’t enough beauty schools in the world and the available beauty schools aren’t diverse enough.

Learning in the beauty industry requires a lot of self-motivation and sometimes it can be discouraging. I was vacationing in an upscale Caucasian area in the USA and I wanted to learn how they cut hair and gain more experience.

Most of the salons turned me away, saying they didn’t have an opening. A few that were frank with me told me that the cuts were for Caucasians and as an African with Afro hair, the clients might not be comfortable having me around. This leads me to my second point.

There’s no fluidity between races in the beauty industry. You hardly find a black person working in a Caucasian salon and vice versa.

On what it is like being a female entrepreneur

Here in the Nigerian space, a lot of people are getting used to having women dominate the entrepreneurial space.

And I am also grateful for that. The unique challenge is insubordination from the male staff because I am a woman, but I have overcome all of that. I only face the challenges that men face in their businesses.

The other challenge is that I don’t have the luxury of time to make business trips like I would want to and these trips of course expose you to more businesses.

However, I have a responsibility as a mother and a wife, which I embrace and love with my whole being. So, in that regard, the female entrepreneur would have a unique challenge except if her partner is the primary home keeper, which often isn’t so.

Read the full feature on GQ South Africa.



Hair: @kukushair
Styled: @nazareneamictus / @givenchy
Jewellery: @roberto_cavalli for @diamonds_eternal_jewellers
Photography: @peter_stonee
Direction: @akunna_nwala@directorcheta
Makeup: @bibyonce