Funmi Akisanya is a Polymath, Purveyor of African Arts and a Social Entrepreneur with multiple income streams.

“My foremost income stream is derived from providing natural hair styling services. I began braiding hair at a young age, and developed this hobby into a business spanning over thirty years.  Early on in my career, I opted not to pursue the salon route, but to work freelance as this offered me more flexibility. Over the years, I have honed my skills and techniques and gained qualifications in the hairdressing industry.  Alongside working with private clients, I share my knowledge and expertise by delivering Natural Hair Care & Hair Braiding presentations and workshops around London. I initially began creating greeting cards as gifts for my hairdressing clients. I soon began to receive requests for customised designs, and this hobby led to another income stream where I could develop my creativity, using traditional tie and dye material from Nigeria. Another one of my income streams stems from my love of writing. This interest has led me to contribute to various women’s lifestyle magazines in the U.K and abroad. As an English Language and Linguistic graduate, I also provide bid writing services for SME’s.”

What was the catalyst that made you decide to go into business?

I knew that I had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, and this led me to sell sweets in the tuck shop at primary school; the rest is history.

What was holding you back from being an entrepreneur at the time?

From a young age, I was always encouraged to be creative and resourceful, and this mindset has always stayed with me.

What was the best business advice you were given?

“Add a product range to your services in order to make money while you sleep”

What is the most exciting thing happening in your sector right now?

The pride and resurgence of natural hair and the various hair styles and options available for women today in comparison to 20 or 30 years ago.

I am also inspired by the persistent use of African print in Western designs and products.

What are your customers demanding more from you at the moment?

In the hairdressing sector, customers are seeking advice and information in caring for their natural hair and I recommend that they take the first step in their “natural hair journey” and book a FREE consultation at Purely Natural salon in East London in order to receive individual advise for their hair type and texture. For individuals who do not have Afro hair, I recommend that they visit salons such as Toni & Guy or Rush and ask for a consultation.

What social media tool are you using at the moment?

Word of mouth is still my most valuable tool

What is your take on personal business failures?

I can’t say that I’ve had any failures as I understand changes in the business environment and consumer spending patterns.

What is difference that is making the difference for success in business at the moment?

The ability to diversify and see business opportunities in new markets

Who are you following on Twitter?

Individuals and organisations that I have met through networking and I make a point to “follow and retweet” strategically, hence my twitter handle is @StrategicDiva

What book would you recommend for entrepreneurs?

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

What is your favourite quote and how are you applying this in your business?

“Follow the money”. I think this quote is quite poignant since a lot of great businesses are not able to upscale due to financial restraints. In my business, I am paid to deliver workshops that motivate entrepreneurial minds, enhance community engagement and promote self-esteem amongst young people and women around London.

What next for your business?

I’ve recently completed a MSc in Global Prosperity with a focus on entrepreneurship, and I would like to use this new knowledge to support social entrepreneurs who want to create social impact. I also need to focus on completing and publishing my first book.

For further information visit: www.funmibraids.com