Funke Bucknor-obruthe went to school to become a lawyer. It’s what her parents wanted her to become, but she knew she was better at and passionate about something else. Her track record as a lawyer (four weeks in a law firm, a few months here and there dabbling in communications and advertising) is evidence that this brilliant, detail-oriented, organized and successful event planner wasn’t born to practice law. She was born to plan events. And boy is she good at it! Twelve years ago, Funke helped a friend plan her wedding and never looked back. She has been living her dream ever since. Today, Funke Bucknor-obruthe is a trend-setting, premier event planner in Nigeria, and founder of Zapphaire Events, an independent, full service event planning enterprise, delivering high quality services through highly qualified and competent staff. Zapphaire Events has planned and organized many high profile events in Nigeria to date. Meet Funke Bucknor-obruthe, business woman, wife and mother to two lovely girls.
Name: Funke Bucknor-obruthe
Position: CEO Zapphaire Events
Short Story: About 12 years ago, just after law school, I got the opportunity to help my friend and her sister with her wedding. That’s where it all started. We got great referrals from everyone and 12 years later…voila!
Age: 36 years-old
Country of Birth: Nigeria
Country of Residence: Nigeria
Education: University of Lagos and Nigerian Law School in Abuja
Marital status: Married with two lovely girls
Role Model: A lot of people are my role models, such as Oprah Winfrey
Favorite Thing to Do: Reading and watching television
Favorite Dish: I absolutely love indomie noodles
Guilty Pleasure(s): Ice-cream and cheesecake
Last Book Read: My last book read was by Robin Sharma
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/funke.bucknorobruthe
Twitter Handle: @funkebucknor
Website: www.zapphaire.com and www.furtullah.com
“The most challenging part of my job is people management, staff retention and the constant need to excel in an environment that allows mediocrity.”
How did you get started in event planning?
A bit accidental really. I absolutely loved planning events, so about 12years ago just after law school, I got the opportunity to help my friend and her sister with her wedding. We got great referrals from everyone.
Explain the name Zapphaire Events. What’s the inspiration behind it?
Wow the name ZAPPHAIRE Events; I was just sitting in front of my system one day when I thought about the sapphire stone. I thought why not spell it with a “z” and the additional “a” was accidental. So it’s really unique.
How long have you been in the business of planning events, and what are some of the ways you’ve seen the industry evolve over the years?
I’ve been in the industry for 12 years, and I’m one of the pioneers – there was only one other person in this professionally at the time I got started. The industry has grown immensely, from just me and Lara to everyone now becoming planners. Even the service providers and vendors in existence now are very different from what they were back then.
Lighting is a big part of events now and decor has changed. The banqueting aspect has totally changed also. So much has changed, and to be a part of that history and change is humbling.
When did it first hit you that you were successful and finally living your dream?
Hmm success; I don’t even know if I can say we are successful yet because we are still evolving and developing. But we have trained so many other planners who now own successful businesses so maybe that defines success.
Also just living my dream is a blessing. I love planning events, it’s always been my passion and so to do that and get paid for it is great.
Describe the most challenging part of your job.
The most challenging part of my job is people management, staff retention and the constant need to excel in an environment that allows mediocrity.
You have planned some really high profile events in Nigeria. Is there ever a time when you get a call and you can’t believe whose event you’ll be planning next?
I get excited every time I get a call. Maybe a little more super excited about some than others, but the feeling is generally awesome all around.
In March last year, you published The Essential Bridal Handbook, making you a published author in addition to being an event planner. What inspired you to write a bridal handbook tailored towards the Nigerian bridal market? Do you believe it has served its purpose?
There was a need in the Nigerian market for brides to get help with planning their own weddings, or to have proper insight on what to ask and do and expect. There were a lot of assumptions on either side, from the client’s perspective and also from the vendor’s perspective. That needed to be corrected.
Also, the book is a journal, so you can write in it. It also has a checklist to help dot all i’s and cross the t’s. It also has great tips from established and experienced vendors.
It has definitely served its purpose; the reviews have been more than awesome.
If you could tell an aspiring business woman to invest in just one thing, what would it be, and why?
Invest in ideas and people. Thanks so much, Funke Bucknor-obruthe