Surviving as a migrant in any country is a challenging and mentally-sapping task, much more becoming a celebrity in an European country after few years is no mean feat. It was a walk in the park for incredible Jimmy Ofuoyan, founder of 360Kuts, an international hairstylist brand based in Italy, and Khalilimage, a lifestyle digital content company.
Few years after arriving Italy, Jimmy Ofuoyan was crowned the best hairstylist in Pescara and Milan. He won the ‘Blurriest/ Fastest Fade Technique Barber Battle’ against other amazing hairstylists and barbers in his community and barbershop, where he worked for several years in the country, as none came close to his dazzling prowess.
Jimmy Ofuoyan is many things in broader perspective. Describing him as a warrior and conqueror literally remind of the confrontations he had with poverty growing up, and the choice not to give, regardless of the hardship as a child. Born into the struggles of life where his survival was almost in his own hands. Deprived of a secondary education, aiming to become a doctor or lawyer would be an ambition taken too far.
Nonetheless, Jimmy Ofuoyan had the foresight and vision. With formal education not in view, he took up apprenticeship at his brother’s salon where he acquired traning in fixing and braiding of women’s hair. While at it, he added men’s haircut to his knowledge pouch through online tutorials, as if he knew the very weaponry needed for the battle ahead.
After the completion of his training,
Jimmy Ofuoyan made the risky journey to Libya at age18 in 2016, with his cousin and others. Like many Nigerians, he fell into the hands of desperate human traffickers who threw him behind bars. However, Jimmy Ofuoyan’s talent was too big to be shut out. He provided haircut services to his captors and other prisoners.
“One of the pivotal moments in my career was when I relocated to Libya and found myself in a prison camp. It was during that difficult time that I realized the power of my hairstyling skills. I started providing haircuts to the captives and even the traffickers themselves, using just a razor blade and a comb. That experience not only improved my skills but also ignited a fire within me to pursue my passion even amidst adversity,” the 360Kuts visioner narrated.
After about 548 days in captivity, he escaped to Italy, where he eventually became a celebrity hairstylist patronised by artistes, footballers, actors and other popular folks. The 360Kuts managing director’s trip to Italy was almost as life-threatening as the initial journey to Libya, but dream spurred him on.
He first stayed in Sicily at a reception centre known as LAPISS (Laboratorio per le Aree Protette Italiane e lo Sviluppo Sostenibile), in Abruzzo, before he was later moved to a camp.
The camp gave Jimmy Ofuoyan the impetus to show the world his skills first-hand, by offering home-service haircut and promoting his business through Khalilimages. He also worked as a disc jockey at events and carnivals. His fame spread across the regions in Pescara and Milan, attracting footballers from the Italian Serie A, singers and performers and actors by unprecedented show of talent.
360Kuts took flight and became a sought-after brands, putting the name of the visioner on the world map and announcing that a superstar has arrived.