‘’Bruno means brown color. That’s why some people name their Brown dog Bruno. People use to make fun of my name that it was a dog’s name and I used to be offended. By divine revelation, I flipped the word dog around and I found that I’m a god. They wanted me to believe I was a dog.’’
His name is Bruno Oaikhinan and he is one of Nigeria’s fast rising entrepreneurs. In 2012 he started Bruno’ Place – a modern beauty salon – that is revolutionizing personal grooming in Nigeria.
According to a report by Euromonitor, the projected value of Nigeria’s beauty and wellness market will be worth about $3 billion in 2017. This is a huge market and entrepreneurs like Bruno can smell the coffee.
Born 49 years ago in Edo State Nigeria, Bruno’s journey from a banker to the owner of one of the fastest growing beauty salons in Nigeria did not start today. After bagging a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Bruno entered the banking world where he rose quickly through dint of hard work to become the head of Internal communications Unit at Skye Bank Plc. His over 10 years’ experience in the financial industry was filled with remarkable achievement. For example as head, Multi-Client Unit at Standard Life Assurance he reintroduced a redundant investment product (GSLAS) and sold it to over 400 individuals.
Despite his success in the financial industry Bruno felt he had even much bigger contributions to make to the economy of Nigeria. In 2012, he quit his job much to the surprise of many of his friends and went to learn the art of building a world-class beauty salon. In 2013 he made a bold entry into the beauty business by opening his first salon at the colossal Ikeja City Mall making him the first person to open a beauty salon in the mall. Since then the salon has attracted Nigerians from all works of life.
His salon at Ikeja City Mall is always a beehive of activities. From the stylists working on the ladies’ hairs, barbers giving the guys a haircut, technicians giving visitors manicures and pedicures to children playing around, Bruno’s Place always seems like a home away from home.
According to Bruno Oaikhinan, ‘‘Bruno’s Place is about transformation, hope and beauty. We transform lives, we’ve converted ordinary people and made them extraordinary, giving beauty and hope to our world’’ With a staff strength of 80 and growing, Bruno believes anyone with enough passion, hard work and loyalty can also rise in his company.
Since launching in Ikeja City Mall in 2013, Bruno has since gone to open three more salons in Jabi Lake Mall, Abuja and The Ruby Centre, Wuse 2 Abuja and in Maryland Lagos with even more salons to open next year. With fast growth comes compromising service but Bruno is able to ensure quality delivery at all his salons by personally teaching standards to all his staff and also living a life of example. He believes personality should come first before sales and young entrepreneurs today should focus on that.
No doubt Nigeria is in dire need of entrepreneurs like Bruno Oaikhinan who are determined to change the status quo. Like Bruno would say, ‘‘I am now the Chief Inspiration Officer of Bruno’s Place. How can I be a dog? I’m a god created by the almighty God.’’