Public relations is vital to growing a successful company. In Nigeria, entrepreneur and PR expert Bukky-Karibi Whyte and her lifestyle PR firm, The Bobby Taylor Company, have attracted major clients who hire her to get the word out about their products and services.
The Bobby Taylor Company handles public relations in the lifestyle and luxury sector, and counts among its clients Estee Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, and SPAR. Whyte recently opened Invicta Africa, which is dedicated to the corporate sector.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Whyte, 35, studied African American History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the United States. Prior to returning to Nigeria, she worked in the educational sector for about seven years.
Whyte, who is married with three children, actually started The Bobby Taylor Company in 2007 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, before moving operations to Nigeria.
Whyte tells AFKInsider why she relocated her company to Nigeria.
AFKInsider: Why did you start the Bobby Taylor Company?
Bukky-Karibi Whyte: I have always had a flair for public relations. My mother was a PR expert and so it was of no surprise that I would follow in her footsteps. I started The Bobby Taylor Company at the age of 25 because I wanted to work for myself. I had a desire to build a strong brand and the love and passion I have for public relations.
AFKInsider: What does the company do exactly?
Bukky-Karibi Whyte: The company is a public relations agency in Nigeria that works on providing superb PR services to clients both locally and internationally. We specialize in new product/service introduction, media relations, special events, advisory services, crisis management, product placement and more.
AFKInsider: Why the name Bobby Taylor Company?
Bukky-Karibi Whyte: Bobby Taylor are the names of both my grandfathers who I had great admiration for. Both were extremely strong and influential men in Nigeria.
AFKInsider: How did you fund the startup?
Bukky-Karibi Whyte: I started my company with zero capital.
AFKInsider: Why did you decide to go back to Nigeria to operate the business?
Bukky-Karibi Whyte: I was getting quite a few requests from companies in Nigeria requiring my services. I felt that I had done amazing work, learning a lot in the U.S. and that it was time to apply all that I had learned in my own home country. I saw a large vacuum in how companies told their stories and how they related with the media, and I wanted to educate and provide a service that would help fill that.
AFKInsider: What is the business environment like for female entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
Bukky-Karibi Whyte: The business environment for women in Nigeria is tough, like everywhere else in the world really. As a woman, you work and have to prove yourself twice as hard as any man. A lot of women are, however, equal to the task and continue to thrive in a male-dominated environment.
AFKinsider: What has been your biggest business challenge?
Bukky-Karibi Whyte: Staffing.
AFKInsider: What has been your most important business lesson?
Bukky-Karibi Whyte: My most important business lesson is learning that there is nothing that can prepare you for running a business until you start to run a business. I have learned that failure and success are part of your teachers. I am grateful for everything I have learned in my journey.
AFKInsider: What are your goals for 2017?
Bukky-Karibi Whyte: To introduce Robert Taylor Media (the renaming of The Bobby Taylor Company) and take my agency to greater heights. My goals for 2017 is also to begin PR masterclasses in Nigeria to educate. I am a huge advocate for education.
AFKInsider: Entrepreneurialism seems to thrive in Africa. Would you agree?
Bukky-Karibi Whyte: There is a massive boom of young entrepreneurs in Africa lately, and it is changing the face of Africa in a massive way. I am very proud of the continent and where the young people are driving it to.
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