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I do not have a mentor— Ojikutu

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Ojikutu Abisola is the CEO of Bizzyaski Beauty Studio. In this interview with Yinka Lawal, the graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State and the Academy of Arts Sansfracisco opens up on the challenges that come with the beauty business and the many misconceptions about his line of business.
How did you venture into the beauty business?
I have always had it in my mind that I don’t want to work for anybody, so I thought about what I could do. I know I can do music but I know without money, it won’t go fast, so I thought about what I could do to raise money, so I struggled to learn that while I was in 300 Level in the university. I used to go for trainings whenever we had a break in school till I graduated in 2008. After graduation, I thought it was time I started the business, I then started professionally in 2009.

What initial challenge did you face while starting out?
Raising capital, securing a strategic space to use and standard equipment were the major challenges I faced. Good equipment will go a long way in bringing out the best in your job.
How would you describe the journey into entrepreneurship so far?
I know Rome was not built in a day, everything is a gradual process, we started from somewhere, one client, two, and then three, gradually it expanded, I can say the speed at which the business grew was fast. Needless I say that, a good job speaks for itself, the thing about this work is that when you do a good job, you get referrals.

It is growing every day, we started from tattoo only but now we have ventured into other things. Our business wants to meet the beauty need of each and every of our client, most services we offer were born from client needs. I discover when they ask about some thing and you say you don’t do them; you are pushing customers away, so because of that I keep learning new trends as they come.

Why this line of business?

I started tattoo because I needed to put food on my table as well as push my music. As time progressed, I started seeing it as something that will take me far.

A large percentage of people nurse resentments against tattoo, what is your take, does that affect your business in any way?
It doesn’t have to be accepted by everyone; it is normal, some people will like it while others won’t. I think it is a personal belief; the ones that like it will always like it while others won’t.

It’s a part of our tradition, you see people write things on their body, western people just rebranded it. Really, tattoo is to enhance the body. Fashion is a very good business in Nigeria. If you can upgrade your phone, you can upgrade every other thing. If you can reshape your brow when you don’t like it, then you can upgrade any other thing.

Who inspires you in the industry?
God is my mentor, I do not have a mentor, people should follow what I do.

Who are the people you have worked with in the past?
In Nigeria, I have worked with Inyanya, Iyabo Ojo, Karen Ighor, Kay Solo, Terry G, Ay.com, the list is endless.

How rewarding is this business?
It has been good. For those who take their work seriously and put in an extra effort, they will go far.

What distinguishes your work from other people?
It is the touch of professionalism in any work that I do.  I get a lot of referrals from each and every work I do because put in my best.  Also, I am continuously and constantly learning, if there is anything trending, I make sure I learn it even if I have to go outside Nigeria.

What are your plans?
It is to learn about other body enhancements- tummy tuck, liposuction. it is the next in line for me, I have the idea already, I have seen where it is done on you tube, it is just to do the exams. It is part of me already, it is just to read and go to school about it now.

What course did you study in school?
I studied philosophy.

Where do you see yourself in years to come?
I see myself leaving this work, I see myself not attending to clients anymore as time goes on.  I am into music and once I establish myself well in music too, I will have to groom others who can do the work perfectly even when am too busy to supervise the business.
Which started first, beauty business or music?
Music started first because I started while in school. I was in my second year in Olabisi Onabanjo University. I used to go for studio sessions from the little money I get from home. I did an “Airtel half dollar advertisement” It is a documentary of coming from grass to grace, it was shown all over West African countries.

Can you tell about some of your works?
I have dropped “Abracadrabra”, “Oluwanisola”, “Etirinkan” then am remixing the “Etirinkan” with Reminisce , and I will be doing a foreign song with another foreign musician, I am working on that, the video will be shot abroad too. Just trying to push “etirinkan” then the video will be out.

Which words describes you?
I am gentle, humble and trustworthy. I keep to my words, if you keep your money with me, you will meet it with me. If I can’t do it, I will tell you I can’t, I go straight to the point.

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Aside art and music, what else do you want to try?
I want to go into productions too, consumable products, what people can take , textiles, foods, but that is in future.

What is your thought on tattoo, do you think it will go into extinction or it is here to stay?

The urge for it has reduced, people don’t do tattoo like they used to be. Then it is not a constant thing you do, for instance the way you change your hairstyle, it is those that have no tattoo that come for it basically. Another thing is, there is really an age limit.

It has the bad sides too when you patronize those who are not professionals. The  needle to be used must be sterilized, don’t use expired ink, it has no effect. It is not drawn into the blood but in the skin.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
It starts from the client first, you can’t dictate, you ask them what they want.  If they don’t have, I choose for them, I counsel too, some people will be like I want to draw dragon, snake, so I ask what that means to them, majority don’t know what it means. I tell them to draw things that are meaningful, so when they ask, they will be able to say what it is about. Every tattoo has meaning.

Advice for young ones
No matter how hard or slow you struggle, everything is about God, you just keep moving!

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