Melion Abraha came to Germany from Eritrea in the 1990s, and soon after wanted to help people look good by creating wigs and hair extensions made from human hair imported from Asia and Europe.
The constant ringing of the doorbell signals the arrival of new customers. The shop is a hub for people of all ages and walks of life. Some come to Cocoon Hairshops because their hair is beginning to thin and they are looking for a wig. Some don't have the time to wait for their hair to grow and are in the market for extensions. Melion Abraha patiently helps each one.
"My motto is, 'Just get started,'" he says. The Eritrean shop owner does just that – he helps people to look good. He left his home in Northeastern Africa at the age of 14, when he was forced to flee from the civil war in Ethiopia. He's now been living in Berlin for 28 years. Over the years he's completed two apprenticeships, one as a locksmith and one as an IT technician, but neither really suited his fancy. It was his brother who got him thinking about making wigs and hair extensions, mainly from real hair imported from Asia and Europe.
Melion Abraha had found a real gap in the market back in the 1990s. His 150-square-meter shop houses countless shelves on which sit 300 model heads displaying his precious wares. A few years ago, Melion Abraha even started his own real hair brand.
The full treatment
At his store on Schöneberg's Hauptstrasse, Melion Abraha performs the hair extension process himself, a procedure which takes about an hour and a half. In addition, Melion Abraha sells accessories and other cosmetic products, such as hair oil made from avocado, coconut, aloe vera, papaya, and even carrot.
He also sells false eye-lashes in all shapes and sizes as well as braids. All in all, Cocoon Hairshops has turned out to be a smashing success; Melion Abraha has been in business for 16 years and now has nine employees of his own.
Author: Masha Slawinski