BN At 6 – Our Stories, Our Miracles: From Earning N3,000 a Month in Aba to Building a Hair Empire! Ugo Igbokwe of “Make Me” is Living the Nigerian Dream

Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2012 at 2:17 PM

By Atoke

As part of our 6th anniversary celebration, and in line with the BellaNaija ethos of entertainment, information and positively impacting lives, we are sharing 6 stories of real people who have been dealt with some of life’s unexpected cards. In spite of these challenges, these people have found the strength to pull themselves up and trudge on and are  willing to encourage others going through their own issues. Life hands us lemons everyday, but it’s not all of us who successfully make that tall glass of lemonade. Ugo Igbokwe, owner of Make Me Salon, celebrity hair stylist and entrepreneur (Wigs & Extensions), pulled himself out of poverty and obscurity through hard work and dedication, built his brand and business. We sincerely hope that you are inspired by his story.

“I can do it” These four words define me. I’m a man who came from a very humble background and I have worked very hard and God has blessed the work of my hands. I’m married to a beautiful, talented woman, Olubukola and I have two lovely daughters, Kamsiriona and Chizaram. They’re the pride and joy of my life.

Aba made…
Born and bred in Aba, I’m your classic Aba boy.  I was born into a family of 5. My dad died when I was really young and so my maternal grandmother raised us.  In that community, a lot of things depended on my grandma to function and then all of a sudden everything changed. From living in a 3 bedroom house which was ours, we moved to a rented two bedroom and from there to a one-room flat. It was a progressive regression, things were really bad. I dropped out of school in JSS 3. I had to work to make money to help support the family. I was doing a lot of odd jobs and later I got a job cutting hair. Leaving school was a really difficult decision for me but I was really unhappy with the situation at home and it was worse because I felt helpless. There I was, going to school and  everybody at home was sad and depressed. There was no money, sometimes there was no food. I had to help out. I would go to school and come back and the home was sad and depressing. I was brought up with a lot of caring, provision and everything; suddenly everything changed. Till now I can’t explain what went wrong. I spent the bulk of my teenage years cutting hair, and using the money to support the family until my uncle came from Jos and took me away with him.

The Change
My sister died and I had to return to Aba. I was distraught and to make matters worse our little one room was crammed with people, mourners and condolers. It was all too much for me, there was very little room for my mum and grandma to grieve properly and something snapped in me. I drove everybody out,  told my  grandma “Enough of the crying” I told my grandma and mom that if they didn’t stop crying I would leave and never come back. There was a quiet calm that descended and from that moment I found that I commanded respect in my family and people listened to me and I realized I had a position of authority in my family. I stayed back in Aba and I started the only thing I knew to do… cutting hair. It was tough but it was all I had.

The Big Move
Something needed to change. It was 1999 and I was earning N3000 a month from hair cutting but it was barely enough to get us through. I was was paying for our board and the NEPA bills. It was really a struggle and I knew I needed to make more money. A friend of mine got me a hair cutting job in Lagos but I didn’t want to go. I was worried that there would be nobody to take care of my family so I went to talk to an older friend of mine, to seek advise and just talk about everything that was going on. He asked what my reason for not wanting to go to Lagos was and  there and then he banned me from coming to his house because he said I had clearly become too comfortable and I wasn’t willing to take a risk.
“If you want to be someone, get out of this place, run out of this place as far as you can and see what you can do for yourself. Your family will survive.”

I thought about those words for a long time because I love my family so much and it felt like I would be abandoning them.  It took me a few days to try and make sense of his words. I felt like I was turning back on my family and I wasn’t concentrating on my job any more and as a result I lost the job I was holding on to as security. That was a very difficult period in my life because the money I was bringing in was really helping out and I had lost even that; in my shame I couldn’t go back home. How would I face my mother and my grandma? I stayed away from home until my mother came to look for me. I told her I was ashamed and I felt helpless. I told her about the opportunity in Lagos and all my fears. I poured my heart out to her that day and she encouraged me to go and give it a try. She said I wouldn’t know how it was if I didn’t give it a try. My mother had a little money saved and she gave me gave me money for a bus ticket down to Lagos, but when I got to the bus station (Innocris Motors) I found out that I knew the  bus driver and he gave me a free ride to Lagos.
I didn’t have too many expectations about Lagos, neither did I expect the streets  to be lined with manna from heaven but I had big dreams and I was going to work hard.

Bukola & Ugo Igbokwe

Baby Steps Forward
By the time I arrived, the job I was counting on was no longer available so I was stuck. I stayed with my friend for 3 weeks doing nothing. I was optimistic that something good will come. Then my friend’s boss told my friend and I that if we went back with him to Aba to work on the house he was building as labourers, we could come back with him and he would build a place we could stay to make hair and all that. So we went off to Aba again and this time I was in Aba for 4 months, working as a labourer building the man’s house in Aba. When we came back he kept his word and we started the salon. Once again I was cutting hair in the barbing section. I was sending money home to help out with my grandma and my mum but it was really overwhelming and after a while I really couldn’t cope. I was focused on making a new life but somehow I couldn’t be that same person who was constantly looking backwards so I made a decision to cut everybody off. I made it clear to everyone that I didn’t want anybody to tell me about problems because telling me about problems would render me helpless since I was unable to help from afar. My grandma was particularly hurt by my decision to turn my back on everybody because I was very close to her but I tried to explain that in the end of the day I wouldn’t be able to focus if I kept worrying about them. I’m not going to say it’s because they respected that that things turned around, I must say that was just God.

The Hair Stylist
While I was working in the barbing section downstairs, I noticed that the stylists in the female section were making more money. We were cutting hair for far less money than the people in the ladies section were and I got very curious. I wanted to learn how to do what they do.The hair stylist was born out of an interest and a determination to learn about doing women’s hair. I started by watching and asking questions. My wife taught me the basics of styling because we were working in the salon together at that time and marrying her is the best thing that happened in my life. I’m a creative person and I totally love my job. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than making beautiful hair.I understudied the styling part and then much later I realized the importance of having formal training of hair dressing and styling but this didn’t come until later when I started traveling abroad. At that time, I had a belief that all good things and everybody who was rich and successful made it “abroad”. I tried every means possible to get into Europe. I was a victim of “Embassy Fraud” twice.  I paid money to some guys who were supposedly going to get me a visa and by the second time I had lost everything I had saved. I was devastated and I completely disoriented and before I knew it I was jobless again. I was sacked.

“Make Me” Beautiful
My wife and I were working together in that salon and we lost the job together. I was back to square one but this time I had help. My wife was an inspiration and a source of strength. We did a lot of home service. Making hair for people in their homes but it was incredibly stressful and we decided it was time to start our own salon formally.I toyed with the name “Make Me” because people would come to the salon and say “Make Me Beautiful”. Make Me interprets who I am on the job; I want to make you beautiful. With no funds, Bukola and I just relied on our skills and started the business. We worked every time with little time to rest but we encouraged each other and we were convinced it was the right thing to do.

Business started growing and more people started coming and then an opportunity came for me to travel abroad.It was ironic because all of a sudden the “abroad” I had craved so much to go previously had been dropped on my laps because of my skills as a hair stylist and nothing else. Surprisingly, when the opportunity came, Make Me had just started and I didn’t want to go because it came at a time when nothing else mattered to me than my work. I got an invitation to be the head hair stylist in a fashion show in Paris at the Nigeria Fashion Show Paris in 2004. The trip was for six days and initially I turned down the invitation because I had just started my salon which was few months old, the organizers of the show were not paying and I wasn’t ready to travel just for the sake of traveling, but my wife said I should go that she would take care of things on the home front, so I went on that trip. It was really challenging as there were a lot of things I had to adjust to.  I really couldn’t wait to back.

Today
Before my grandmother died in 2010, one of the things that she told me she regretted the most was not being able to come to Lagos to see Make Me because she was too ill to travel. My mother and my grandma were two women who sacrificed so much for me and today my mother lives with me.

There are thousands of people going through situations like I went through and honestly I can tell you it was such a difficult time. However, I didn’t let the circumstances around me deter me from becoming what I envisioned for myself. I held on to God and today I thank God. My daughters’ names are a reflection of my journey through life. Kamsiriona- How I asked of God and Chizaram- The Lord answered. There’s no need to hold on to the fact that if family, friends or relatives don’t help you, you’ll be unable to move forward. With hard work and trying and trying again and again you can make it. I am a very focused person who doesn’t let anything distract me.

Once I get a conviction from God nothing anybody says can distract me. I stick to my goal. I watch every step towards that direction. I believe everything is possible and nothing is impossible. Nothing works unless you make it work and so I do everything within my power to make things work. I throw myself wholly and fully into everything I do. Today, I don’t keep a lot of friends because sometimes the friends may be a distraction. I don’t really keep a lot of friends. I’m still curious and very interested in learning. For instance, I’m a hair stylist, most of them feel it’s a woman’s thing but I don’t feel that way and so I try not to associate with friends who would discourage me or try to belittle what I do and what I have specialized in over the years. I don’t begrudge them, I just know that we don’t share the same goals and I understand that so it doesn’t weigh me down.
I’m entirely different person when it comes to my work, it makes me feel like I’m on a stage competing so I am very vibrant and energetic and I am very passionate about what I do.

You Can Do It!
I believe that money making is the easiest thing to do once you have God’s grace because one of the things that keeps us from making money is not saving and not having good plan that ensures that you save. There is no amount of money you make that can not be spent. People make millions and people spend millions, it’s not about the figure you make, but the important thing is that the  little you’re getting, how do you structure it? Understanding that that little should take you further. You should be able to project that little to take u to the next four months, the next year.

If you’re making a little amount, you need to be able to structure a certain amount for savings. Cut off the wants and even some needs need to be cut off with discretion. Tell people “No” if you must but do it with every sense of focus. My wife and I put money aside and constantly projected for the next month, and the next year.  We were able to acquire the building where Make Me is currently operating from.

If you’re putting aside 500Naira everyday, break it down into 30 days and break that even into 24 hours that way you would be able to project how much will last into the next 30 days, the next month and the next year. You can’t make a new year resolution without a budget and you have to be realistic with today’s earning. Today’s earning, not projected earning or monies hoped for and then you can tell yourself “by the end of this year I’d be worth this amount of money in savings”
Along the line, God has given us wisdom to make wealth. You should also invest, so you can make extra apart from what you’ve projected.
You’re not in competition with anybody. Be yourself, work hard and the sky is only just the beginning.

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  • 85 Comments on “BN At 6 – Our Stories, Our Miracles: From Earning N3,000 a Month in Aba to Building a Hair Empire! Ugo Igbokwe of “Make Me” is Living the Nigerian Dream”

    Comments
    • Precious July 23, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      Ugo I doff my hat for you….Used to know you way back when you used to cut my hubby’s hair at Bode Thomas. In any case, more grease to your elbows….bless!!

      • Toyosi July 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM

        Uncle Ugooooo!! I still talked about u a few weeks ago o. You’ve really come a long way and I thank God for you guys. ((( big hug )))

    • Chattyzee July 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      Stories of this nature inspire me to work harder and do better. Thank God for you life ugo.
      http://dprodigalchild.wordpress.com/

    • Blackknight July 23, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      Nice one mate.Very nice. I am inspired!
      My takeaway lesson: I am not in competition with anybody but with myself. It’s ME vs ME.
      And for everybody out there trying to attain that ‘Breakthrough’, May HIS Face shine upon your life too.

    • Ginika July 23, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      I agree….my hat off to you.

      Inspiring stuff BN, J’adore l’article!

    • PersonalShopper July 23, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      Inspired…Well done bruv!
      http://personalstuvs.blogspot.com

    • Laila Ikeji July 23, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      So inspiring really.
      http://www.LailaIkeji.com

    • Funto July 23, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      Fantastic Inspiring story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Ugo, you were speaking to me, especially on saving and investing.
      You should always keep something aside, no matter how little you make! Even if it means saying NO to the ever-incessant requests from family/friends or closing your eyes to that french-lace aso-ebi your friend just picked for her wedding or binding those hawt pair of shoes you just spied at an online store…lol!
      Just goes to show that the people you see today and envy- some of them didnt have fairytale stories.

      Just like Ugo said, hardwork and focus are the keys to achieving your dreams. It doesn’t really matter whether you have support from your family. With God on your side, EVERYTHING is possible!!!!!!

      On the downside though, I didnt really like the part of him ‘cutting-off’ his family- maybe i didnt quite get that part though.

      thumbs up to Ugo & Bukola- greater things ahead
      Plus I think your daughters’ names are really cute!!!!!

      I have only been to Make Me once, some time back and I didn’t really have a pleasant experience, but I guess that comes with the territory of running a business (esp a salon business) in Nigeria, BUT because of this article I’ll humour my friend (who is prolly Make Me’s biggest fan) and visit again! :-))

      • ABCOG July 23, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        Like

      • word July 24, 2012 at 12:03 AM

        Abt cutting his family off for a bit, i guess he needed time to focus on building on his vision. it appeared family problems were eating into d little he was trying to gather. My mother was in a similar situation some years ago…her family got overdependent on her such that she cldnt save or even plan. I advised her to tell them to give her a break. An things got stable, she started to assist again…this time, wisely. I guess d guy made an ok decision….at least they r reaping from it now

    • BrownSugah July 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      This is so nice! This is so nice! I’m clapping sef******
      http://nitabrownsugah.wordpress.com

    • Mariaah July 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      Wow!! His story is such an inspiration… May the good lord continue to bless the works of his hands (literally) amen!! He that findeth a wife truly finds a good thing… May God bless their union..

    • marvel July 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      I like this person. Sometimes, just sometimes and for a while, it might be important to cut off from continual negativity regardless of whom it spews from. Nice one my man. It paid off!

    • Naveah July 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      How very encouraging!!! God bless you and don’t ever mistreat or leave that wife because God has used her to bless you through the encouragement and partnership she has provided. I love to read testimonies like this because when you are in the trenches, it sometimes as if God is far away until you read about what He has done in the lives of others. God bless you, sir!

    • PD July 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      2 words ..Thank You!

    • LOLS July 23, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      So inspriring!!!

    • LOLS July 23, 2012 at 2:57 PM

      *inspiring!!!

    • Naasya's Oven July 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      Best Motivational Post in a long While… Made my hair @Makeme a couple of Times in the past.. .your story is really touching and I just forwarded it to my 300+ contacts on BB….
      The Sky is your limit and I commend you Sir.

    • Cutey55 July 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      What an inspiring story, I hope to become a good wife to my husband someday

      • laide July 23, 2012 at 4:50 PM

        aww..me too

    • Laila Ikeji July 23, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      He who finds a life partner who is sooo in sync wt ur vision for tomorrow is the most perfect thing that can happen to you.
      Started with almost nothing, my hubby n i hav bn able to start a poultry business that has grown ryt b4 our very eyes. the most interesting part being that none of us ever knew anything or worked in poultry farm before in less than our 4 years of marriage.
      Saving every penny we make, we have been able to build ourselves our 4 bedroom very comfy apartment. we r moving in before the end of August.
      Once you have the passion, patience and you persevere and rely on God and discipline yourself, you wil be amazed at all you can accomplish.
      Thanks for your story Ugo. I grew up in Aba too. soo inspiring really.
      http://www.LailaIkeji.com

    • Bella Naija Critic July 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      That’s how they burned my arm with curling irons in the name of fixing hair n left me with a lifetime scar. Mtscheeew Won’t bother reading d sappy story

      • new bride July 23, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        But you know Ugo wasn’t the one who burned your arm. And it’s not a sappy story, but a VERY inspiring one. Read and be inspired to be less bitter!!!

        • laide July 23, 2012 at 4:52 PM

          lmao..yes things like dis happen…just forgive and move on..the scar would go away IJN

    • deema July 23, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      your story is truly motivating. May the Lord CONTINUE to bless you and ur family. It is really good to have a supporting and understanding partner. May God provide mine for me o!!!

    • cathy July 23, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      i will certainly get there by the grace of the ALMIGHTY. kudos!

    • Deiz July 23, 2012 at 3:38 PM

      His story is so inspiring!

    • adukeologe July 23, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      very motivating. books dont get u everywhere apparently.

      http://www.homafrica.wordpress.com

    • Tayo July 23, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      so inspiring

    • kokie July 23, 2012 at 4:00 PM

      Very inspiring. Well don my brother. Well done. Take care of your beautiful wife and don’t let any ibu ewu people near you.

      God bless you

    • JayneWhyte July 23, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      Very inspiring. I hope young people read this and learn. It musn’t be “sharp sharp” all the time. Sometimes it’s slow and at the end, it’s worth all the hard work.

      http://jaynewhyte.blogspot.com/

    • Thatgirl!! July 23, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      Thank God you have this inspiring story to share today. Their signature braids “roller curls” is so lovely.

    • kem July 23, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      we ladies always make them rich….hahahahaha, there is one of my customer who sells weavon, hmmmm these man need to tell his story, the changes is unbelievable and am glad he is also married like ugo…..Good wife makes their men focus, it is very important to be a man of wisdom, goes a long…nice one

    • X factor July 23, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      wow

    • lilly July 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      Thank you !

    • UsaveOne July 23, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      Thank God for u!

      http://usaveone.blogspot.com

    • hotchick July 23, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      I know Ugo, I saw this journey, I find him totally humble, down to earth, extremely professional and a master at his work. I guess I’d keep saying congratulations, he built it from nothing with Buki.

      Really an inspiration and just goes to show. I’d take make me for my hair anytime – anyway in Naija. Have a vision – trust God and work hard.

      Big ups to Aba people:-).

      Nwa Aba!!!!!!

    • hotchick July 23, 2012 at 8:17 PM

      Oh! Ugo did you move make me? Bella wheres the new address now? Building looks diff from what I remember – is that still Bode Thomas? Inspiring story but also do the marketing now – what is the address?

    • Sweet Mama Africa July 23, 2012 at 8:19 PM

      God bless you for not loosing hope. If you don’t know someones struggle. hmmm
      Its very hard to let our dreams die easily. My people just try and hold on just for one more time.
      No matter how hard it is.
      Happy for your success
      http://www.sweetmothermag.com

    • B July 23, 2012 at 8:28 PM

      Inspiring! Just Inspiring Mr Ugo! forwarded this article cuz theres sooo much learnings here it’d be selfish to not share!

      God bless you and the works of your hands

    • @ajiriavae July 23, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Lessons learnt: Until you are truly and deeply dissatisfied with where you are, you can’t hope to move foward. Be prayerful because luck will make your journey faster and easier. If you keep looking back to help others out, you’ll never be able to look foward and have your own vision. There is no substitute for hard work. A strong support system will help keep you focused. Save, save,save. Did I mention save? Then of course, be willing to invest what you have saved.
      His life story needs to be turned into a screen play.
      God’s blessings to you and your wife.
      http://ajiristyle.blogspot.com/

    • Munachi July 23, 2012 at 10:16 PM

      Such a humble fellow. Met him last Thursday on my way back from CDS . He gave me a tour of the whole place in my NYSC uniform. Didnt even know this was his story. Such is life, you will be amazed to see the interior of the building …….land of splendour literally! May God bless you and keep you.

    • HappyChiq July 23, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      ‘If you never try, you will never know……So many lessons from this story! Thank you Bella Naija for sharing.

      http://www.happychiqmusings.blogspot.com

    • just inspired July 23, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      am so touched by your story,seeing that you had to sideline some people including your family to stay FOCUSED and chase you VISION is something to learn from. going through the same presently…i have really learn t from your story.GOD Bless you and your Family.

    • NNENNE July 24, 2012 at 12:28 AM

      He who finds a good wife ,finds a beautiful thing. Ugo your wife is a gem. May God bless both of you.
      Beautiful story.

    • Tosin July 24, 2012 at 6:15 AM

      I found this very inspiring, especially the early half. I also give him props for marrying a Yoruba gal – we rock (lol) – and how they were a team.
      It’s funny how different people define success. Like the pride he takes in owning his hair palace, it makes much sense and it’s really cool, yet why am I not driven to own too?
      Very glad for him and proud of him for his story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Theodora July 24, 2012 at 7:59 AM

      hmm baby steps and a few more hustling ….i will get there, thank you for this story…God bless you

    • Izzi July 24, 2012 at 8:47 AM

      This is so inspiring, its so easy for us to loose hope especially when things arent going as planned. Getting to the office and reading this , this morning has really encouraged me. Im going through some difficult times career wise but this has told me there is hope at the end.
      Thumbs up bro for marrying a non-igbo, its not easy oh. I think i have to get out of this mental block of ibo and non-ibo and start looking inwards more.
      God bless your business and may it grow from strength to strength.

      • sassycassie July 27, 2012 at 5:17 PM

        what has his marrying a non igbo got to do with anything? :confused: na wa o. naija peeps wnt kill me

    • Sarah July 24, 2012 at 9:17 AM

      Ugo, you are indeed an inspiration! May God continue to bless you and your wife.

    • Princess of Zion July 24, 2012 at 9:32 AM

      I just love the couple! Inspiring hard workers! Diligence pays, never let your vision die. May God continue to bless the works of your hands. Amen.

      http://princessofzion.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/find-him-before-you-find-him/

    • Seun July 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      God bless and increase you and your family Sir.
      You have truly inspired me this morning. It appears that there are no limitations, except the ones we put on ourselves…

    • BIMBY July 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      I wish I can gather the strength to cuclose my eyes to family issues completely. It really eats into ones earnings and savings. An inspiring story. We all can be what we’ve been destined to be by hardwork, resilience, dedication and above all, not forsaking the GOD factor. More power to ur elbow MD/CEO Make Me salon. God bless u, God bless Bella Naija and God bless all Bella Naija fans like myself.

    • BIMBY July 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      *close*

    • Gyann July 24, 2012 at 2:51 PM

      Oh my God this is a must read for all who think their situation damn bad

    • JEWEL July 24, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      Am so inspired!

    • Janded July 24, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      In tears. This is what I needed today.

    • Bode July 24, 2012 at 10:23 PM

      Very inspiration and it show what one can achieve by hard working, support from one partner, great determination and God wisdom.

    • my beat July 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM

      Truly inspiring! I wish Ugo & Bukola the best in love & biz.

    • Mona July 25, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      Thank God for this story,,,,Ugo,,,,,thank you!

    • 'lara obaremi Oyinda July 25, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      OMG…. I am very humbled by this. A friend who recorded part of the opening showed his mum who sat down and people greeting her. God Bless you and I have learnt alot from this and would be more focused.

    • Gyann July 25, 2012 at 6:42 PM

      Oh my God this is a must read for all who think their situation is damn bad.

    • Nino July 25, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      Mr. Ugo I am so touched by your story. I could sense the honesty and forthrightness in your words. By sheer dint of hard work and determination, you are where you are today despite the odds. When I read the bit about you turning your back on your family albeit temporarily, I was a bit saddened but come to think of it, there’s not a lot you can do to help anyone if you are broke! The extended family system in Naija can be a blessing or a curse and one needs to know when to say enough!
      You made wise decisions, brave decisions and I applaud you. Treat your wife like the queen she is. I wish you the very best. I live in Lekki but the next time I’ll do my hair I think I might just pop over to have the Make me experience and also see the man behind this awe-inspiring story.

    • Sweetness July 26, 2012 at 12:40 AM

      Wow! I know I cry easily, but this truly deserves a few happy tears. I’ve heard snippets of Ugo’s story before, but its wonderful reading the full testimony now. Coincidentally, I was at the salon about 2 days ago and after being a regular for almost 4 years, I met his wife- Bukola for the first time. She’s funny, pretty and seems like a really lovely person. I wish them both all the very best in their marriage and business.

    • ope July 26, 2012 at 2:03 AM

      wow, what an inspiring story.
      http://makeweyan.com/

    • novex July 26, 2012 at 2:11 AM

      pls oh where is make me na? abi how una go do this kind story with no details na?

    • Chyke July 26, 2012 at 3:11 AM

      O’ld boy, I like ur story and what u have been able to accomplish by dint of hard work. Congrats. Also, I have two reservations about ur story. First, I don’t subscribe to the idea of abandoning ur parent for any period of time no matter how difficult thing are. One ought to be able to help at all times, though wisely. If we abandon them , who are they gonna run to? In your case, u were lucky that they lived to see u when u eventually succeeded. It may not be so for some unlucky folks. Ones parents and grannies are one of the most precious relationships one may have.

      Second, while I understand and appreciate the fact that saving money is important, you over emphasized it without making mention of the need for one to enjoy him or herself. From my deductions, it seems that ur life is all about work, to wit, u eat and dream work. This life is too short for one to be all about work. Out of what one makes, no matter how small, one must be able to treat him or her self. The Oyibos understands this, that’s why they do go on vacations every now and then, despite the fact that some of them could barely afford it.

      The above reservations not withstanding, u are a dogged fighter. U were able to leave the known for the unknown, which to me, in addition to the grace of God, are the two most crucial factors to ur success. For that, I commend u!

    • Ajoke July 26, 2012 at 6:29 AM

      I love this, very inspirational and I love that he offered practical advice. If you didn’t get some value from this, read it again!

    • Teenaa July 26, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      am so in love wit d story, determination is d key word! trust me!

    • Sequoyah July 26, 2012 at 5:15 PM

      Thanx BN. This has inspired my next movie.

    • Karen July 26, 2012 at 9:10 PM

      Lovely piece. For someone who dropped out of school at an early age, I say kudos. I could feel your sincerity, passion and sense of responsibility while reading through.

      If you have read Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, then you will appreciate this success story even better. I think of the part your friend played in encouraging you to leave Aba for Lagos; your sister’s death that brought you back to Aba; the man that kept his word and provided a salon for you to work and learn. But most of all, God! Who gave you inspiration, a friend in Bukky, a strong heart to hold from falling apart when you had to ‘abandon’ your family, determination, protection from man’s evil and wickedness (Lagos is really full of it, so I think); the list is endless.

      May we all be fortunate to have wonderful opportunities as Ugo, and be prepared to seize them and turn them into ‘Hair Empires’! (AMEN).

    • Sammy July 27, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      D woman’s man. More grease to ur elbow

    • Souleymon Sly July 27, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      You’re not in competition with anybody , So inspiring statement

    • frances July 27, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      Ugoo ,all i have to say to you is that am so proud of you. You have always been a great inspiration to me, and i pray that God’s face will continue to shine on you and your wife. lastly, i also forgive you for not sending my invitation on time….lol(go and sin no more..lol).
      Frances
      xoxo

    • dj ebuzment July 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

      Wow what an inspiration am moved

    • Nicole Smith July 28, 2012 at 7:54 AM

      You have inspired me with your story Mr Ugo, i will always remember your story, also learnt not give up on my goals, by working hard, staying focused with God on my side. I will always visit ” Make me”, very often now. Good luck and stay blessed.

    • Joyce July 28, 2012 at 10:39 PM

      WOW! I am so inspired by this story. Kudos to both of you! …the result of sheer hardwork and determination.
      I was Bukky’s ‘customer’ at the former salon years ago and remember seeing Ugo a few times on my way upstairs… I still remember when you both moved temporarily to a small place, before you finally moved to your last location, and now to the new ‘hair palace’…BEAUTIFUL INTERIOR by the way! Congratulations!

      @Chyke, I get ur point but this was a helpless guy who couldn’t even save himself. I think he needed serious time to focus and not get distracted or weighed down by his situation; he simply concentrated his energies towards achieving his ultimate goal.

      Moral of the story: for those who want to be very successful without doing anything about it, well, there’s no substitute for hardwork; 2ndly, stay focused until u achieve ur goals/dreams, and lastly, if you don’t focus to build ur dreams, someone will hire you to build theirs!

      Congrats Ugo and more grease to elbow!

    • Boogie July 29, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      I’m really inspired by this I ve shown it to my sis in law brother n hubby may God bless our efforts n grant us wisdom

    • lazioman July 31, 2012 at 8:20 AM

      This is truly inspiring. Simply a story of grass to grace. Once again, I’m truly inspired by this piece of writing

      lazioman.blogspot.com

    • nnenne August 7, 2012 at 3:43 AM

      Dont feel so bad about “cutting my famiy off” any more. I have been working as a professional since I was 19 and now I am 44 with virtually no saving because my family was my forst and foremost concern! I made the decision this year that I will not cater to any body but myself for the next few years! I need to bounce back financially given the kind of money I earn not doling out to all and sundry because I know I can afford it. The clothes and shoes are on the back bench this year. I am only doing the skin care – nothing expensive. i am trading in my car for something practical and watch myself. Thanks bros!!!

    • nnenne August 7, 2012 at 3:44 AM

      Excuse the typos!!

    • Taiwo August 18, 2012 at 7:12 PM

      Wow! Well one sir! You are a true Inspiraion!

    • Eunice September 27, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      I usually do not read articles on bella naija! This is an exception, i read your story and i broke down seriously and cried,,, the strong desire of what you have in you and what you want to become brought you to where you are… I broke down when i read the lines of you cutting hair in a tender age ironically you were training for the bigger picture without knowing it…. I hope I will meet you some day in person, but i will keep my dreams up again, despite the fact that i have failed many times….. God bless us….. Our dreams wont die Amen…

    • zinny March 7, 2013 at 3:36 AM

      I have a question; does “make me” offer their services to average nigerians?

    • ruby September 2, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      Ugo i remember you and bukky from years ago when you both used to do my hair. I am so happy you married her. Some guys would have…i am so so happy to see you’ve come this far. The best is yet to come for you guys ijn