FUNKE BUCKNOR-OBRUTHE IS AN EVENT PLANNER AND THE CEO OF THE HOUSE-HOLD NAME ‘ZAPPHIRE EVENTS’. SHE BECAME A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION TO MANY AFTER HER CAREER PATH AND CHOICE CHANGED FOR GOOD AFTER WATCHING THE MOVIE- THE WEDDING PLANNER. CONSISTENCY AND HARDWORK MADE IT A DREAM COME TRUE FOR HER AND HER BRAND.
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF BRIEFLY TO EM…My name is Funke Bucknor- Obruthe, I run an events planning company, where I am the Lead Events Producer/ CEO. I am the author of the essential bridal hand-book, I also have a V- log series. I am married to a wonderful husband and blessed with two children. I studied law at the University of Lagos and the Nigerian law School. I went into events planning just immediately after I finished serving at Tai Communications.
YOU HAVE BEEN IN YOUR FIELD FOR HOW LONG?I have been in my field for over 13 years and still counting as this is 2016. I started the business in 2003 officially.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO THIS FIELD?
I decided to go into events planning because I had a desire to help people plan events even though I didn’t really know what it was. I remember during my
secondary and university days I was always in the midst of parties, so even in the university and someone wanted to do something I would help them put it together which I did out of love. While I was in law school, I realized I loved helping people, my friends that were getting married I would help with their aso-ebi and all. I didn’t charge them any money then because I didn’t know what it was, but then I watched the movie: The Wedding Planner sometime when I was on break from law school and I decided I was going to be a wedding planner.
TIPS ON HOW YOU STARTED? I started with a passion and desire of helping people plan events with no intention of making money. I also made sure whatever I did ,I did excellently. I didn’t do it shabbily even when it was free. I was very diligent and make sure everything was well done.
YOU ARE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH IN THE SOCIETY, HOW DID YOU GROW TO THIS LEVEL? The truth is when you start out something and you are focused, like I wanted to be an events planner and be a force to be reckoned with and a household name, so sometimes when I lost focus and it looked like failure was lurking around, that passion spurred me on. Growth has been painful, it hasn’t been as fast as people think, but growth has been and we are still growing. We will continue to grow until the brand has been known internationally and the topmost person in the event industry we won’t give up. We started with just two people who I paid as contract staff, and now we’ve grown because now we have structure, process, etc. We can boast of various departments in the company like the HR, Accounts, our décor company and a team of coordinators. The business isn’t just about me but realizing that you need to grow steadily and by doing that you need to consistently do the right thing, a good job and deliver exceptional quality service.
EVERY BUSINESS MINDED SUCCESSFUL PERSON HAS A STORY, WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE? From the beginning, one of the major challenges we faced was getting people to use event planners. A lot of people didn’t know who an event planner was or even want to use an event planner. Another challenge was staffing. Finding people that would stay with you in the long run and we have been able to do that. We have people that have been with us for 5,6,8,9 years and in any organization it isn’t easy to find things like that. We consistently let our staff know our vision, brand and other things.
WHAT SETS YOU APART?
I would say our exceptional customer service. This is because we always give our attention to detail and the ability to be creative and realizing that every event is important and treating that event with utmost importance.
YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO MANY, WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU? God inspires me, because without him I don’t know where I would be and he brought me to where I am today and he is still taking me places. I also have people that inspire me internationally and locally. People like Tara Fela-Durotoye, Osayi Alile who is like a big sister to me, Preston Bailey, David Tetura. Some of these people have been in business for 30 years so they inspire me.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? My motivation is a desire to consistently deliver good service. Ensuring that the Zapphaire brand is one people still see as a fantastic and consistent brand. Hard work and fear of failure motivates me.
PLEASE KINDLY SHARE SOME OF YOUR SECRETS TO BECOMING SUCCESSFUL WITH EM? One of the secrets to being successful is to be hard working, to realize that whatever failure you experience is not permanent but temporary and to teach you new things, new skills.
WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO MODERN DAY LADIES AND YOUTHS WITH THE ZEAL TO GROW? Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done. Also your character is very important either good or bad. Treat people around you nicely and realize that you need them around you to get some things done because you can’t do all by yourself.
COMPILED BY DAMILOLA .A. SHOTE