Fri | Dec 13, 2019

Growth & Jobs | Ohmoto turning passion into profit

Published:Tuesday | December 3, 2019 | 12:05 AMVanessa James/Gleaner Writer
Keries Ohmoto, owner of Kasias Boutique.
Keries Ohmoto, owner of Kasias Boutique on Instagram, shows off one of her products.
Keries Ohmoto, owner of Kasias Boutique on Instagram, shows off one of her products while having fun at an outing.
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As only young people can, they have found a way to be entrepreneurs without the overhead costs of rent or utilities slicing into their bottom line.

Keries Ohmoto is one such person who has turned passion into profit, despite her naysayers. Now, she isn’t only making a life for herself and her daughter, but she can say, ‘I am enjoying work’ with a satisfied sigh.

Ohmoto owns an Instagram store called Kasias Boutique (@kasias_boutique), where she retails hair, but she stands out in her parish as she instals what she sells. The business had its infancy in 2016 but was fully established on Instagram a year later.

Before that, she was doing sew-ins at another boutique in Runaway Bay, but made the change when she started losing her own hair and started to feel insecure.

“I had alopecia and other sicknesses mixed together, so I started to venture out into things which would make me feel more beautiful,” said Ohmoto. “I had a liver infection and the medications I was taking, because I was pregnant at the time, made my hair start to shed, so I was feeling insecure with how my hair was looking.”

Ohmoto stated that she would use sew-ins in order to cover the sides of her head, but it was not versatile, and she wanted something that could cover both her insecurities while being versatile.

“I really established it (her business) for the purpose of helping women like myself who were losing their hair or felt insecure or wanted to change their looks in a different way by using wigs,” Ohmoto told The Gleaner.

When she decided to venture into the beauty industry, however, Ohmoto’s family was opposed to the move, encouraging her to instead pursue a more traditional profession.

Great decision

“It was a great decision for me because my family, they didn’t believe that hair was going to do what it did for me, because they were like, ‘No, you have to go to college and become a doctor or a lawyer or a nurse,’” she recalled.

“Well, I did go to college, but I quit in my second semester because it wasn’t what I wanted to do.”

She decided to get certified in her field at the HEART Trust/NTA and other establishments where they had classes.

Citing that business has had its ups and downs, Ohmoto, however, said she would not trade her independence for anything. Being her own boss has given her creative licence.

“One person is not going to suit everybody, so you have to try to be different, to stand out, because at the moment, I am really one of the few who instals wigs in ‘Ochi’,” she said, referring to Ocho Rios in vernacular.

“So I have the advantage here, but in order to expand to other parishes, I have to stand out a little more and put myself out there publicly.”

Prices vary based on the length of the hair, and clients are charged separately for installation.

A lace frontal wig at 12 inches starts at $24,000, she said.

“My service to instal also depends on what you want. For example, if you want glueless wig, it is a little more hectic than if you want a regular install, so a regular install would probably run about $5,000.”

Wig maintenance is also among her suite of services.

“One of the best feelings is having my own business,” said Ohmoto, who encourages others to follow their passion.

vanessa.james@gleanerjm.com