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COLUMBIA – While in Chad, Haby Naya learned how to braid hair by doing her friend’s, sister’s and even her doll's hair.

Naya moved to Columbia, Missouri, in 2004 to get her master’s degree at MU upon advice from her father, but it was not her passion.

With the help of family and a few friend,s Naya opened her own salon, Haby Hair Braiding, in her home on Saturday and realized her dream.

“I am achieving my dream, it’s my big dream that I’ve been waiting for,” Naya said. “I’m so happy with it.”

One patron said she met Naya through a mutual friend and has been coming to get her hair done by her ever since.

“I’ve watched this whole transformation of this space and every time I came here it would be something new that Haby has added to her space,” Keisha Edwards said.

She said going to see Naya is more than just hair.  

“It’s not just about getting my hair done; it’s about the friendship that you develop with your beautician,” Edwards said. “It’s about being able to relate to someone and be comfortable in the environment that they’re in.”

Edwards said she is not planning on changing beauticians anytime soon.

“Every time I come here it’s always a smile from Haby or a good conversation from her that keeps me coming back,” Edwards said.

Naya is not stopping with just this salon. She only has nine credits left to earn her master's in business and she plans on going back to school next year.