THE INSPIRING STORY OF BANKER TURNED HAIRDRESSER – BRUNO OAIKHINAN

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It is no longer news that Nigerian banks have been one of the worst hit by the present economic situation in the country as a result of the stringent monetary policies put in place by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), low oil prices and uncertainty in foreign exchange. In order to cut costs and reduce financial loss in 2016, Nigerian banks have been on a mass retrenchment of workers since the start of the year.

Unfortunately, the casualties of these retrenchment exercises have suffered worse disillusion than the economy itself because many have become hopeless and clueless about how to pick up their lives again. Several have ended up in the labor market carrying their CVs from one place to another while others are still contemplating what business they can engage in.

Being unemployed can be a difficult chapter of your life, and figuring out what to do can be overwhelming. If you are one of these people or you know anyone going through this right now, let the story of Bruno Oaikhinan, Banker turned Hairdresser encourage you!

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This is the story of a banker with over 10 years experience and no one knew him and but barely 3 years as a hairstylist and as Chief Inspiration Officer of Bruno’s Place located in the two biggest malls in Nigeria he has been on the pages of some of the National Dailies, Popular Blogs and BBC.

His story is not what happened to him, it is what he made out of what happened to him! For example, two of his colleagues died when they were asked to resign from the bank. They could not handle it. But in Bruno’s case he took the bull by the horn and faced life head on! He saved all he could, got all the training he needed and got connected with people who could help him and today he is a living testimony…a banker turned hairstylist giving employment to over 50 people and in addition, giving beauty and hope to my world. The case of a stone the builders rejected now a chief cornerstone.

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Read more and be inspired.

  1. Tell us about yourself, Sir.

My name is Bruno Oaikhinan, CIO  (Chief Inspiration Officer) Bruno’s Place Unisex Salon. I’m a banker turned hairstylist. I worked in the Financial Institution for over 12 years and the last place I worked was Skye Bank. I left as head, Internal Communications Unit. I have a B.Sc Economics and also a Certified Brand Strategist from Orange Academy affiliated with CoolBrands, Amsterdam. I’m married with children.

2. How did you venture into hairdressing? What necessitated your switch from the corporate banking environment to hairdressing? 

Among other reasons is the need to give back to my community, to be a role model to hairstylists, creating platforms for them to fully express themselves and be proud of their trade. I finally left the banking sector to face hairstyling professionally when I was asked to resign in 2011.

3. Did you need to go through a formal training before embarking on your entrepreneurial journey of owning a Salon? 

I got a private teacher to train me for a year. After that, I sought out someone who was already succeeding in hairstyling business. I learnt the ropes of the trade from him while partnering with him before starting Bruno’s Place. 

4. So, what has it been like running a hairdressing salon, which is predominantly a female dominated business?

What drives the beauty or entertainment world is controversy. I learnt that while in Orange Academy. Curiosity they say ‘kills’ the customers, I mean the cat. Lol! Ladies like guys doing their hair; I think the ladies are in a better position to answer why. I’m just taking advantage of it as a businessman who follows the trends.

5. What are some of the highs and lows of your job or business? Has it been all rosy?

God has really been faithful to me. I did my homework well. It’s a business that’s not seasonal. People love to look good all the time. Besides, we are located in places where our target customers naturally migrate to; the malls. Though the rent is high but we are not making any loss. 

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Not only Bankers can buy Brand New Cars. Hairdressers too do!

6. What three words best describes you?

I’m committed, I’m sacrificial and I’m passionate 

7. For anyone who wants to tow your path of crossing from 9/5 to Entrepreneurship, what qualities would you say the person must posses? 

You must be disciplined, not greedy and not selfish.

8. Name three people who inspire you and why? 

God, God and God. Who will inspire someone who was earning N500,000 monthly to quit the banking sector to face hairstyling. Even my wife did not find it funny at the initial stage. Lol!

9. In your business, what brings you the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment?

Taking ordinary people and making them extraordinary! As Bruno’s Place, we have converted cleaners to stylists and earning better than when they came. I look forward to month end to pay salaries and commissions to stylists. It’s my peak!  Imagine someone who was earning N500,000 monthly now paying over N2Million monthly to staff. I have become an asset to my landlords, suppliers and government both state and federal.

10. What quote do you live by?

You overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of testimony. Rev.12: 11. You need the God factor and testimonies to be successful.

11. How do you balance work and family? 

I do not build my business around myself. It’s about putting structures and order in place and then multiply yourself in people to do the job even better than you would do it. I have over 55 staff. I create time for myself and my family. I’m in charge!

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12. What advice would you have given yourself 10 years back?

Go to school, learn a trade, resign early and be an entrepreneur.

13. What’s your advice for men who say that will never do a “woman’s job”?

Be open. You never can tell where your breakthrough is. I worked in the financial institutions for over 12 years, nobody knew me. Who would have thought ordinary hairstyling could make me a celebrity. I’m glad I’m a hairstylist.

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14. What keeps you going? 

I read a lot. I listen to testimonies and I’m a believer.

15. What’s your last word for any Banker or employee who desires to start his or her own business some day?

Talk to me. I’m a consultant and a trainer also.

 

If the story of Bruno does not inspire, I honestly don’t know what else would! I heard of him just a couple of days ago and he has greatly inspired me the reason I thought to share his story. In all Bruno remains very humble and level headed which really impressed me.

My take home from my encounter with Bruno is humility and open mindedness. Without these values he would never submit himself to a profession that many consider demeaning and for illiterates. This “low-life” trade is actually where God gave him a break through.

What is that thing you feel the nudge to chase yet you are looking down on it as beneath you? Are you willing to submit yourself for learning? Are you ready to give yourself a chance to start all over again? Or are you simply drunk with the poisonous opium of status and ego? Think again! A little humility here can turn your life around like in the case of Bruno. Be humble so that God can exalt you!

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Have a fabulous weekend!