Tresses and Farebeats!!
Hello everyone, another amazing Friday Column is here! This week we shifted our focus to the United Kingdom and set our sights on Buki Akinsanya, the founder of BecksBuki. They provide professional Hair and Make-up services to a wide and diverse clientelle. Tresses, face-beats and all the products in between! Buki Akinsanya has single handedly built a really successful brand and business.
Personally, I believe one of Buki’s best kept secrets is the amazing customer service the brand offers to all its clientelle. A trip to hers for me is always the best time ever. I am constantly in awe of her entrepreneurial spirit and her constant moves to improve her craft! Buki is a consummate artist indeed, passionate about championing the different voices of beauty. She is certainly one to keep your sights on. I had a brief interview with her, and bring to you all, a bit of an insight into her business, how she started and has kept going till date!
1.Ezinne Chinkata: Please give us a brief run-down of your arts background.
Buki Akinsanya: Art the subject that saved my life. I did an O Level in Fine Art, this lead to me doing an A Level in History of Art and Fine Art. It also helped that my mum was an Art Teacher at School of Arts & Science Victoria Island and Kings College Lagos. She also went to London College of Fashion for dress making. She was a great inspiration. I must mention my Art Teacher in St Margaret’s, Bushey ,who saw my potential and was a great teacher.
2. Ezinne Chinkata: Tell us a bit more about your business and your ideal customer
Buki Akinsanya: My Business was actually never planned, it started as a side hobby but with life things changed and I became fully emerged in what is now “Becksbuki “. My name is Buki Akinsanya. My nick name was Becks given to me by an uncle so Becks became a work name. So as I worked for MAC and Chanel as a Makeup Artist, Buki and Becks became one. I started off as a Makeup Artist and hair was the side Hustle. When I became self Employed the hair took over the makeup.
Today my business provides Makeup, Hair Extensions Styling, Weaves, Custom Made Wigs, hair Colouring, Workshops, Brushes and a Styling Service. I don’t think I have ever been conscious of an ideal customer. Working with MAC their policy was All Ages, All Sexes, All Races. Sort of followed that Mantra. My makeup and Hair is for all women ages and races. Sometimes you cant control the majority you attract. As my clients are a walking advert for me.
3. Ezinne Chinkata: How did you conceive the idea of going into hairstyling?
Buki Akinsanya: So when I was in boarding school abroad , the hair situation was a problem, I had a low cut in the Eighties so no maintenance required . Then A level in the Nineties. I had a fabulous Aunty who fixed my weaves. One half term break she wasn’t available. I couldn’t imagine going back to school with my own hair so I took to imitating what she would do. This was the first time I had a brain wave, cause I did a good job on myself I felt confident. I would then start styling hair in school for other girls, this lead to my first paid job. I braided a white girls hair for £50 in 1996. That was a lot of money then. So when I left A Level to start University I was braiding hair on the side for pocket money. It took forever to braid. I was braiding all races. A friend of mine suggested I do weaves instead as they took less time. So that’s how I got into weaves.
I always liked movement in hair and hair cuts, so I tried to imitate hair cuts in weaves. Practice become vital in my pursuit of perfection, I practiced, I got asked at work about my hair, one client would send another client until it became a rippling effect. I must say I am self taught I have received No academic or practical education in hair making until my first workshop I attended in 2017. I consider my self a hair dresser limited and hair stylist today. I’m confident in what I do but still work in progress. I have been blessed with opportunities to try, learn and practice hairstyles.
4. Ezinne Chinkata: At what point in your career did you become entirely sure you were on the right track?
Buki Akinsanya: I remember making a lady up who not to my knowledge had been abused for years by her ex partner, she was attending an event where she would be face to face with her abuser. She came for a Makeup session and brought all the products. She later sent in a letter to my manager expressing appreciation and how great she felt. Money can’t buy the confidence you create in a woman when she feels beautiful. There is a power that a creative has, the power to make people feel good about themselves. This is when I knew I was on the right track.
5.Ezinne Chinkata: What is your all-time favourite hairstyle?
Buki Akinsanya: I loved a Farrah Fawcett and a tight Curl Afro. It became a signature for me. That was then. I have no favourites now.
6. E.C: Do you ever advertise your craft? Or you rely on word of mouth?
B.A: I started this at a time where there was no Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or social media period. So one relied on word of mouth. I have had featured work in a few magazines for Hair and Makeup, I guess that’s advertising, now with social media it’s the way forward. I also have a website www.becksbuki.com. I must be clear my business has grown with the evolution of social media but there’s still a strong presence word of mouth recommendations has, especially as the market is saturated with Hair and Makeup Artists.
7. E.C: How did you start on make-up artistry?
B.A: I worked for Macintosh as Technical Support for a short period. I hated it, I later quit. I saw an advert for beauty work. I was curious and applied. It turned out to be counter cover work. I would be the perfume girl trying to get you to buy a new fragrance in department stores such as Selfridges. I worked in a lot of department stores perfumery and Makeup. I became a sales lady. I had to counter cover for Bobbi Brown one day. I got the opportunity to apply makeup on everyday clients. It was also about making a sale. I was good at it and had another brain wave moment. I now wanted to work for one of the best at the time which was MAC, I applied by faith and got the job. As I had an Art background it really for me was the same principles but on a face. I had a blast working as a Retail Makeup Artist with MAC. Everything I know today was birthed from this period. I practiced, learnt, had great opportunities and was influenced.
8. E.C: What in your opinion is the image of a beautiful woman?
B.A: I love to see a woman well put together, I love to see character in styles, clothes and beauty, I love to see expression. With this being said I think beauty is subjective. I have seen plus size beautiful women I have seen very natural beauties and enhancement wearing beauties. It’s all subjective. And depending on the person viewing it varies. I find Lauryn Hill and Erika Badu beautiful but also find Tyra Banks, Angelica J, and many others to be beautiful women. So to give you a description of image would be putting beauty in a box for me. I think freckles are beautiful, I think dimples on cheeks are beautiful. I think a full lip is beautiful. So you see Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
9. E.C:.How do you keep up with the ever-changing beauty and hair trends?
B.A:I regularly update my knowledge of imagery. Fashion week information, blogs, magazines, celebrity culture, entertainment, social media.
10.E.C: What is the one big tip you can give an upcoming beauty entrepreneur?
B.A: Enjoy what you do.
11. E.C: What should we look out for in 2018?
B.A:New Improved methods, more products and services.
Becksbuki: Instagram: @becksbuki Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 7980 889642