While studying medicine in Nigeria, a young man had to take a tough decision on which career path to walk for the rest of his life.
Destiny aligned him to a young lady in the form of Tosin Ogunsoyin, who was studying entrepreneurship. The two met in a Lagos bank and after a fruitful conversation regarding their aspirations in life they decided to team up.
This led to an establishment of a unique brand in South Africa, starting off as retail, selling hair pieces to a hair salon and now manufacturing hair chemicals that are being distributed across the African continent.
It has not been a smooth sailing journey for the young determined couple.
Their story is one of many ordinary Africans which show’s great determination and the hard work people within the African continent have to go through.
“It was a challenge in 2005 when I moved to South Africa, I left my medicine studies to start with Matric qualifications (SA school graduate certificate) because of technical problems from my previous college” Ruben recalls.
Tosin hinted on her break through “I realized that Brazilian hair was making inroads into Africa quickly and no real African products were countering that,”
From attending various learning camps in the USA and Ruben in the UK, we brought in great experience to develop a business in the hair industry.
According to them, through hard work and sacrifices they have managed to overcome the industry challenges and competition to establish a now, well-known brand Ruutos Hair in Randburg, north of Johannesburg.
“I had to break the struggle cycle of working for tips as a waitress in a restaurant and take it upon ourselves to realise and follow our dreams. We took the risk of using money intended for Ruben’s school fees to order untried hair products from America in order to test the market’s response and give our business dream a start.
We started with a consortium box that we sold by finding clients through the use of the internet” recalls Tosin who has an entrepreneur back ground as she used to buy and sell clothes in her early days as a student at university.
“It was also about inspiring our fellow African brothers and sisters in that we are capable of pushing the envelope where business activities are concerned,” she added.
Ruutos Hair managed to scoop a major deal with MultiChoice Africa.
They both reckon divine intervention for their biggest deal so far.
“We have been part of the Big Brother Africa Reality Show since 2012 after one of the partners of the show approached us to be part of the show and the rest is history.
“It was a master co-brand alliance where our personnel were involved styling all the big brother Africa participants hair”
“From the Big Brother launch our brand expanded and reached audiences across the continent such as in Zambia, Angola just to mention a few”
Tosin does most of the travelling and singled Namibia as her favourite destination especially Windhoek while her diet is said to be European as compared to Ruben’s traditional pap and steak.
The couple is blessed with a boy who turns 4 this month.
“No separation of roles as a couple, work related won’t be discussed at home, when at work I leave the house at home
Although we look big, we are still very small. We have to put in the all the hard work of marketing our brand. It’s all about hard work and time management,” Ruben moaned.
“We wish we could take time to relax and not thinking about business but we always working, around the clock and it’s not healthy These are the challenges entrepreneurs go through as you fight to grow the business ” Ruben added.