There is a day, seemingly like any other when everything changes. It is the day you make the decision once for all, to walk a new path; to go after the goals that until that moment have only been hazy dreams. It’s the day you resolve to become the person that you’ve always wanted to be and lead the life that you are capable of leading; the day you say enough, to the things that have long held you back. That’s the day that actually turns your life around.
For Bruno Oaikhinan, it was the day he resolved to roll up his suit and turn his back on the life he has lived for 14 years. The day he decided to shun every possible excuse and run after his passion and long time dream with every determination and hope.
He had worked for more than a decade as a banker, climbed substantially through the ranks; yet all the while, he knew something was not just right. He wasn’t one born for a 9-5 work routine, or one cut out to occupy a permanent spot behind a desk and a computer. His call was totally different; somewhere in the fashion world, as a hair stylist.
Bruno’s career change was in no way cataclysmic; instead it was a well calculated and deliberate shift. Despite his grinding work routine and family demands, he made a commitment to hone his skill and he pursued it relentlessly.
“I remember those days that I would have to wake-up in the mid-night, and I had this baby-toy that I used to learn with. You can imagine that I would go to work early and I come back late in the night. I would then put on my generator and used it to learn how to make hair, and by the time I would be through with the practice, I would wake-up the next day and go to work (in the bank). That alone shows the interest I have for the business. I did all that and nobody knew.” He says in an interview with The Nation.
He also got an instructor who would go to his house each week to teach him. Soon, the years of tutelage paid off, as he became a pro- hair stylist. Now, the next step would be to find a mentor, one who has advanced in the field and whose goals and experience where not so different from his.
He found Bobby of Bobby’s signature. And like he wished, Bobby had all the experience both as a mentor and a hair stylist with the right sense of humor.
“The first time I went to his office and told him I wanted to learn, he almost fell from his chair, because that day I was wearing my suit. Immediately he said, you a banker, and burst into laughter. So, he decided to teach me free of charge. That was how I started.”
In June 2012, the relationship soared from a protégé-mentor relationship to a successful business partnership and within a short period, the duo set up two flourishing outlets in Magodo and Omole, Lagos State.
In a short time, Bruno moved some steps further to establish another outlet, somewhere in Opebi Lagos, this time, in his own name. His reason was clear; “I just decided to give it another name so that I will not put all my eggs in one basket.”
Building a successful career in the fashion industry has always been something Bruno longed for even as a child. Growing up, he remembers using a blade comb on his hair and years later how his face would light up with keen interest each time he accompanied his wife to the salon. He would sit calmly, making observations and noting what areas needed improvement.
Today, Bruno Oaikhinan has become a force to reckon with in the fashion industry.
His passion and dedication has seen him taking giant strides and breaking new grounds. His latest feat was setting up a hair salon he named Bruno’s place in Ikeja Mall in Lagos – a middle-class area in Nigeria’s commercial capital.
He decided to take the risk when he realised that despite the country’s economic climate, people, women most especially would always be ready to spend so much on their hair.
“Whether they are poor or they are rich, whether there is crisis – people want to look good,” he explains to BBC.“This is the biggest mall in Lagos right now and we have a lot of activities going on right now – Nigerians, we like enjoyment. People can come to the mall to shop and while they are shopping they can keep their kids in the salon to do their hair,”
Bruno Oaikhinan has caught a hold of his passion and he just won’t let go. No, not again!
“I am fulfilled in it; because it is something I enjoy doing. I find so much joy when I hold woman’s hair. I came into the banking world just because I wanted to make money, I knew from day one that I could not last as a banker because I have passion for fashion. I knew there is something inside of me, I am a creative person, and banking was just like a platform for me to make money. I can’t say I am making as much money that I made in the banking industry but I have so much time, and if you convert that time into money, I can tell you that I feel fulfilled in life than when I was in the banking industry.”
Find your passion and make the most of it.