Mon, 21 Aug 2000

Pasar Rumput hair salons enjoy a boom

JAKARTA (JP): A year after a fire gutted part of the Pasar Rumput traditional market, hair salon operators in the area have started to enjoy a boom in the "beauty" business.

Anyone visiting the market, which is located in the Setiabudi district of South Jakarta, will immediately notice the presence of dozens of hair salons among the many shops, stores and restaurants.

Andri Hair Salon owner, one of the first in the market, Andriana Manafe, 44, said business was much better than the period shortly after the fire.

"Nobody wanted to come to Pasar Rumput then," Andriana who is also known by her colleagues as Mama Ana, told The Jakarta Post in a recent interview.

"But now more and more people come here," she said.

Another hair salon owner, Lucky, who owns Lucky Hair Saloon shared Andriana's opinion.

However, Andriana said that her monthly turnover was still lower than it had been before the fire.

"I used to earn Rp 5,000,000 (US$561 at current rate) a month, but now I only make Rp 2,500,000," Andriana said, adding that she still had to pay her five employees.

On April 2, 1999, a fire gutted at least 66 kiosks and a restaurant in the market, including 10 of the hair saloons, causing hundreds of millions of rupiah in losses. The market was built during the governorship of Ali Sadikin in the 1970's.

An employee at Marisa Barbershop, Fitri, 21, who said she had been working at the barbershop for one year, said that the number of customers had been increasing.

"I serve five customers a day," Fitri said, explaining that there are five employees in the barbershop.

The interiors in most of the hair salons are less organized than salons in other areas. But, they benefit from faithful customers who keep returning to have their hair done.

"Like this man over here, every time he comes to Jakarta for a job, he always comes to my salon," Andriana said, referring to a man who was having a massage after his hair cut.

A 70-year old woman, Sil, said she liked to have her hair cut there because the girls at the barbershop were very friendly.

"I have had my hair cut at many hair saloons, but I find the hair salon here is the most friendly place," Sil said.

Other customers said they preferred to come to the market to have their hair cut because it was much cheaper than other hair salons in the city.

A customer, Yuyun, said that she only paid Rp 5,000 to have her hair cut in the market.

"At other hair salons you'll have to pay Rp 15,000 for the same service," Yuyun said.

Andriana, who charges her customers more than other salons in the market, said she charged Rp 10,000 for a hair cut.

"That includes hair tonic and blow," she said, adding that outside the market, the cost would be Rp 25,000.

However, some employees at the market complained about their low salaries.

An employee, Lilis, 22, who works at one of the hair salons there, said that she was only paid Rp 100,000 a month.

"I just got my raise last month. When I was working as a trainee for three months, I was only paid Rp 50,000," Lilis said, echoed by some of the girls. (jaw)