Eritrea: Big wigs at Cocoon Hairshop

Planet Berlin: Good hair every day

The real thing

At the age of 14, Melion Abraha fled the civil war in his homeland and ended up in Berlin, where he has lived for 28 years. In the 1990s, he opened his first hair shop, selling wigs made from real hair that now adorn hundreds of model heads in his two stores. He currently has nine employees and has founded his own real hair brand.

Planet Berlin: Good hair every day

Good reasons

Clients demand wigs for diverse reasons: thinning hair; during cancer therapy; dissatisfaction with hair; or even impatience that one's hair hasn't reached the desired length. Melion Abraha has solutions for every need at the Cocoon Hairshop, which has around 300 different wigs on display.

Planet Berlin: Good hair every day

Total care

Cocoon Hairshop not only specializes in wigs, but also in care products for every hair type. Skin creams, soaps, human hair extensions, heat tongs and eyelashes are also part of the extensive range. Those who can't make it to the stores in person can shop online via the Cocoon Hairshop website.

Planet Berlin: Good hair every day

Building an empire

Near his store in Schöneberg's Hauptstrasse, Melion Abraha opened a second location on Potsdamerstrasse. In the hair emporiums, the founder and his employees not only sell everything related to hair such as the accessories pictured, but also offer an all-round service — including hair extensions that are directly fitted to customers on site.

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.

Eritrea: Cocoon Hairshop - Move your cursor or finger for the 360° view

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.

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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

Hauptstr. 30
10827 Berlin-Schöneberg