Bukky Karibi-Whyte is the founder of Bobby Taylor Company and Invicta Africa where she dedicates herself to public relations in both the luxury and corporate sector. This mother of three is definitely one of the biggest names in PR on the continent and has honed her skills by handling huge briefs for international brands like Estee Lauder and MAC. Lets read her story and be inspired.
Bukky, please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Bukky Karibi-Whyte. I am a 34 year old female born in Lagos, Nigeria. I attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst for my undergraduate degree with a focus on African American History, African Studies and Women’s Studies.
So why did you choose public relations as a career and how did you know it was for you?
Well my mother was and in fact still is a PR Practitioner and so it was a field I grew up around. Growing up and seeing my mum practice it made it a craft that came naturally to me. First of all I practiced Public Relations almost as a hobby and then after a while I decided to turn it into a business.
PR is something that even a decade ago was not taken as seriously as it is today, what do you think is responsible for its fast evolving nature?
I think that with the new social media age, and the rise of the internet, people in Nigeria are becoming more conscious of their personal or corporate brands. People are beginning to realize that image is everything and that poor brand projection can result to poor sales or the fall of any brand. Public Relations is so crucial in our market today and thankfully people are beginning to realize that.
You are a young woman in a very male dominated industry, how were you able to carve a niche for yourself?
Firstly by staying true to my craft and playing as hard as the boys. I don’t expect to receive a pass in my industry because I am a female. I intend to continue to carve a niche for myself by providing impeccable service, developing new trends and playing a strong role in my industry.
Great! Now lets talk a bit about your education. You had part of your education in Nigeria, do you think this helped when you returned “home” from the US to start your PR career?
Most certainly! Public Relations involves a lot of psychology, and understanding the mindset of the market in which you are communicating to is important. My living in Nigeria and being Nigerian gave me the advantage of understanding the market a bit better as opposed to if I never lived here or if I was not Nigerian.
Talking about understanding your market, do you find that once a brand or business is accepted in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital then its smooth sailing?
Not necessarily as each market is different. A brand may be accepted in a bubbly Lagos but not accepted in a more subtle Abuja. You have to take care to ensure you craft your messaging to suit your audience.
You have three children! First off you do not look it at all, Secondly how are you able to combine a busy work life with being a mummy and a wife?
Luckily for me, I started having babies early. My kids are grown with my youngest going on 12! They know I really love what I do, and they have come to accept that their mom is in the front, back and center of a lot of things happening in the city. I also make sure that I do make time for them when I can. I want them to see me work and I want them to see me busy. I hope that it will instill the importance of hard work in them. I also make sure I travel to unwind and relax.
Mention three things that have shaped your life.
My Parents, Enid Blyton -who from a tender age, gave me the ability to imagine anything in this world through her books , and the people around me. I also learn a lot from everything happening around me.
Lastly, what advice do you have for anyone planning to venture into the world of PR?
Three things stand out. Make sure you educate yourself, study your market and love the brands that you represent.
Thanks Bukky it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you.
Follow Bukky on IG on@bukkykaribiwhyte