Meet Apie N'Da, Red Seal Hairstylist

There are many different reasons for choosing a career path. Some individuals follow in the footsteps of a parent, and some are enticed by a high paying job with incentives. But for some people, a career spent following a passion and making others happy is the best choice of all.

Apie N’Da is a hairstylist who specializes in wig design. She was born and raised in Paris, France and moved to Nova Scotia after a visit where she fell in love with the sights and sounds of the ocean. Her passion to become a hairstylist and design wigs was realized after giving birth and suffering from postpartum alopecia (a medical term for hair loss, or bald patches). “I wanted to come up with a solution to feel better and look better so I started playing with hair extensions and wigs,” she said. “I couldn’t find the right texture, or hair type. I was looking for something more and I couldn’t find it on the market, so I just made one for myself.” Apie said that she was pleased with what she had made and realized that she could help other people.

“What I love most about my job is being the person who allows my client to feel better about themselves. Whether it’s because they’ve been through chemotherapy or after giving birth and they have lost their hair. I’m happy to be the person who’s there to help them.”

When Apie moved to Nova Scotia, she enrolled as an apprentice through the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency. “I was already playing with hair extensions and wigs, but I felt like I needed the practical training to have the actual expertise with hair,” she said. “I reached out to the Cosmetology Association, and they referred me to the apprenticeship program where I learned from a master hairstylist and eventually became certified.”

Although Apie recognizes that it’s a big step to change a career path, with support and the ‘right people’, a dream job is possible.

“Apprenticeship helped me materialize my dreams by allowing me to learn in a safe environment and among my peers who actually wanted me to succeed. It was not an easy path, but once I connected with the right people, I was able to flourish, and I received a tremendous amount of support. I had people along the way who cheered me on and wanted me to do well. I am grateful for that.”

Apie says that apprenticeship, along with great mentors, gave her the self-confidence to start her own business. “I have mentors that I can reach out to or call on for support or advice…I’m still learning how to run my business, market my business, but apprenticeship has given me the confidence I needed to move my dream forward.”