PEOPLE THAT MATTER: FUNKE BUCKNOR-OBRUTHE -EVENT PLANNING
Sometime last year between June and August I was channel surfing and eating sushi take out from Sushi-Zushi, San Antonio’s favourite sushi restaurant. As I munched on a Cosmopolitan sushi roll, I looked up and saw a lady explaining traditional Nigerian weddings to a very interested CNN reporter by the name of Christian Purefoy. I dropped the sushi and paid attention as I saw a very chic, assured and smiling lady with glasses speak with passion and poise about the incredible logistics it takes to produce a Nigerian wedding because there are two.
Her name is Funke Bucknor-Obruthe, the CEO of top Nigerian event planning outfit Zapphaire Events. Bucknor-Obruthe has fast become a household name in Nigeria due to her passion for event planning Citing that she “just loved planning events and a few friends of mine encouraged me”, Mrs Bucknor-Obruthe, studied Law at first. She attended Fountain Nursery and Primary School, the Nigerian Navy Secondary School in Ojo before attending University of Lagos and the Nigerian Law School. Since the launch of Zapphaire Events Bubknor-Obruthe’s clients have included ARIK Airbus launch, Guarantee Trust Bank Accountant General of the Federation Retreat, FAB Magazine, House of Tara, The Lagos and Oyo State Governments, Governor Fashola, and many more!
Some three months after watching her CNN interview, I moved to Lagos. Around early October, I was on the way to a client meeting when I saw the Zappahire Events van driving down Kingsway Road in Ikoyi.
I yelled out “Funke!” and the driver gave me a confused “Who?” I quickly said that’s the best of Nigerian event planning zooming by. I now went into Bourne Identity mode as I asked the driver to close in on the van as I had to pass her a congratulatory note and business card-in moving traffic. What almost resulted in me having my fingers clipped by the window and an Okada was successful! Two minutes later Funke and I exchanged numbers. Since then we have met at different events around town and I’m very honoured she took time to interview with Nonny’s List. Enjoy.
******** The Interview ********
NL: Who/What inspired inspired you to get into event planning?
FBO: I just loved planning events and a few friends of mine encouraged me.
NL: What is the main objective of an event planner in your own opinion?
FBO: An event planner is to ensure that all elements of an event go well and it’s seamless.
NL: How has/is social media helping your work?
FBO: Social media is helping because it gives us visibility.
NL: What type of work and projects do you have planned for the future?
FBO: An event centre-State of the art.
NL: What inspires you artistically?
FBO: Things around me, books, magazines, seminars.etc
NL: How has the Nigerian community reacted to your work?
FBO: 10-years ago, the event planning industry didn’t exist, so, the reaction has been positive.
NL: What challenges have you faced?
FBO: Staff Retention
NL: Is there a sustainable future to being an event planner in Nigeria?
FBO: Yes, the industry just started.
NL: What is your trademark look?
FBO: I ‘m a bit of a classic dresser. I like long dresses and also jeans and a top.
NL: Name three things you think every woman should have in her wardrobe?
FBO: A black dress, great handbag and great pumps
NL: Name three things you think every man should have in his wardrobe?
FBO: Black blazer, a good pair of shoes and a white shirt.
NL: What is your opinion of this statement: the fast rising success of the Nigerian fashion industry is definitely helping Nigeria’s image. Now people will see we make clothes that are colourful and we don’t all live in huts, and wear Ankara.
FBO: It’s true. Lol.
NL: Who is (are) your favourite Nigerian fashion designer.
FBO: Nigerian- Grey, JBL, House 38, Republic of foreigners.
On Music and Film
NL: What is currently playing on your iPod?
FBO: It all belongs to you
NL: Who is your favourite Nigerian artist?
FBO: Wizkid right now
NL: What’s the last movie you saw in the cinema?
FBO: Transformers 1
NL: What is your favourite movie of all time?
FBO: Sound of Music
NL: Who is your favourite Nollywood Actress and Actor?
FBO: Genevieve Nnaji and Yomi Fash-lanso.
On The Essential Bridal Handbook
NL: What inspired you to publish The Essential Bridal Handbook?
FBO: A lot of people, brides needed this journal, directory etc in Nigeria, you could get it in shops abroad, and we needed a book for the Nigerian market and Africa.
NL: How has the public responded to your being the first to publish this book?
FBO: The public response has been positive, overwhelming and excellent.
NL: What challenges did you face when publishing this book?
FBO: The Challenges
NL: What can we expect from the second one?
FBO: The second one will have an interactive cd, etc.
NL: Do you have another interesting hobby that people don’t know about?