From a roadside barber to a budding entrepreneur, landing a scholarship and now a final year college student; Megan Holung, 21, basks in her success and overcomes adversity.
Holung said the gleaner that the death of her father, the breadwinner, diminished the family’s income, prompting her to tap into her creativity to help support her family.
Holung, who graduated from Glenmuir Secondary School in Clarendon with a total of 17 subjects from the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Education (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Competency Examination (CAPE), said that making braids along the way as a teenager in May Pen stemmed from a low point in his life.
“After my father died, my mother had no choice but to turn to the streets of May Pen to sell fish from an igloo to support the family as she became the only breadwinner,” she said. Citing her mother’s journey into sales as arduous, Holung said she decided she had to help because funds were still tight. The move, however, opened up a pool of ridicule, as she was mocked for leaving “high school” to become a roadside hairdresser.
“That year had some bittersweet moments because even though I had people who were extremely proud of me, I was still ridiculed by some of my classmates for doing my hair on the side of the road. The struggles were inflexible as I had to walk around and beg people to plug my kettle in to put the finishing touches on the braids,” she said.
With a goal in mind, however, she remained fearless in the face of criticism. “Statements such as ‘Dunce she dunce mek she a do hair pan roadside’ and ‘She leave Glenmuir fi turn roadside braider’ from my classmates tried to dissuade me, but were in vain as I knew what I wanted” , said a confident Holung. the gleaner.
The long-awaited college scholarship that didn’t materialize soon enough was an added incentive for Holung to earn an income.
“People commenting couldn’t pay my school fees or help my younger brothers. I have a strong mindset and I knew what I needed to do to improve myself and help my mother. Their comments were mere chatter because I graduated as an outstanding achiever,” she added.
PROUD OF THE COMPANY
Holung launched her business, Braids by Meg, in 2018; a company of which she is proud and congratulates herself on having taken the plunge. “I needed a business that required little to no start-up capital, so I ventured into the hair industry where my only requirements were my hands, God, and a few products.”
She admitted doubts remained as she thought people would be skeptical about getting her hair done along the road, but she pushed on and was excited about her growing clientele over the years. “Passersby inquired about my work and made appointments. During my freshman year of college, when I was in a dorm, that’s when my business took off, going from sloppy to overbooked,” Holung enthused.
Holung is currently a final year student at the University of the West Indies, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management and Management Studies. She is also named to the Faculty of Social Sciences Dean’s List Scholars for 2021 and is a full-time student-athlete. She hailed her family as her support system when asked about how she balances work and school.
Referencing naysayers and initial comments citing her cosmetology skills as mediocre, Holung argues that having a skill reveals other advantages than becoming self-employed.
“[Skills] also facilitate personal growth because they come with experiences that no teacher can teach. Whatever job you are in, your employer will expect you to have a strong work ethic and professionalism, which I have developed over time, having to deal with clients of different personalities on a daily basis” , she said.
She praises her business as the source of her independence and a better life for her family. “I just went to school with no money for lunch and no one knew, now to help my mum send my younger brothers to school. I have a long way to go, but I’m proud of the woman and business owner that I am so far,” Holung said. the gleaner.
“My motto is ‘God business, good business’ because all it took was patience and the grace of God.”
Megs braids can be found on Instagram @braidsby_meg.