Student runs a business during pandemic

Senior Fauzah Kargbo began her journey with hair at just nine years old. She started by practicing doing her doll’s hair, and eventually moved on to family members and others. Doing hair became a passion of hers, and she decided to start her business, Fauzahstyles, so she could share it with others.

In the summer of 2019, she had appointments booked back to back. When it started to get warmer in June, July and August, there was an increased interest in protective styles, so business was booming. The pandemic may have even caused clientele to go up.

Lots of other hair salons have been shut down due to COVID, but Fauzahstyles continues to run. Other places shutting down has increased the amount of customers coming to Kargbo because of their limited options. Though having more customers earns her a better profit, it can be high risk, but Kargbo thinks it’s worth it. 

“I’ve gotten many clients and I try to do as much as I can, but due to COVID-19, I choose to keep a limit to the number of people in my house during the day,” Kargbo said. 

When the first wave of the pandemic began, many businesses operating out of homes were shut down. 

Now, almost nine months later, many have reopened, with some modifications to safety and health practices, Fauzahstyles included . Kargbo’s business operates out of her home, and it has for years. 

When COVID hit, there were a lot of changes in routine and precautions to take to keep her customers and herself safe from the virus. 

“I require my customers to wear masks, I make sure to clean the chairs after each use, and I wash my hands between each client,” Kargbo said. “As long as I have my mask on and they do as well, we are in limited contact.” 

Even though she’s comfortable with the precautions being taken, she knows that even with a mask, there is risk.

“Being closer than six feet to someone else that you don’t live with can still put both people at risk,, mask or not.” Kargbo said. “We are not aware of what others might have unknowingly been exposed to.” 

While Kargbo is perfectly fine with doing other’s hair as long as the right steps to stay safe are taken, her mother is worried about having people outside her family’s bubble in the house.

“I feel like anyone could have it and not know and by allowing just anyone into our home, we are putting ourselves at risk,” Kargbo’s mom, Mariatu Bangura said. 

There is a possibility of having the virus, being asymptomatic, and having no idea that they are sick and possibly spreading the virus. This is what worries Bangura the most.

“People can come over to get their hair done and we won’t even know they have it because they don’t show any signs. It is just dangerous,” she said.

While it is risky, Bangura appreciates the precautions her daughter is taking in order to keep making money.

“Although I don’t like the risk at all, I’m glad that Fauzah is using her time wisely and making money instead of staying in the house all day,” Bangura said.

Her sister, on the other hand, is completely comfortable with Kargbo’s decision to remain open during the pandemic.

“Honestly, I have no problem with it as long as they’re wearing a mask. I think the risk is very low as long as we are doing what we need to do in terms of safety,” Mariam Kargbo said. 

As long as cases don’t skyrocket and no one in her family gets the virus, Kargbo plans on continuing to run Fauzahstyles during the pandemic. 

Making sure to limit the number of people allowed into her home and taking as many precautions as necessary to stay safe will be crucial in keeping things going.