Reading the headline alone will make anyone inquisitive. The question that will pop into your head will be, “how possible is it for a man to be a doctor and bead maker”?
I bet you have never seen or heard such story. It’s so unbelievable.
It is with so much excitement and fascination that I’m presenting to you all the inspiring story of a man who has gone against all norm and tradition, broke the rules and challenge the status quo by doing something the Nigerian society will tag “woman thing”.
His story will prove to you that in this world, there’s nothing holding you from achieving all your dreams. I mean all of your dreams. Just like Celion Dion will say, “A thousand dreams I still believe, I’ll make you give them all to me”.
And also, in this age that we are, there’s no career or occupation that is higher or lesser than the other. You can be an expert in selling groundnut or in frying akara (Nigerian baked beans).
There are no limits to what you can do or be…no limits
Ok here we go. So, tell me about yourself
Dr Ken: My name is Nwosu Kenechukwu. A medical doctor and also a jeweler (bead maker). Lover of art and anything creative. Have other names tho irrelevant they become important when it comes to my brand, as its name is coined from my initials, ‘NOOKS’. Obviously, I am an Igbo. You may ask any specific questions about me you may wish to know.
Wow. That’s a lot
Dr. Ken: Lol. I guess we done with the question then.
How Long have you been practicing as a medical doctor?
Dr. Ken: That’s a lil over two years now. So I’ve been a jeweler for even longer.
Is that what you’ve always wanted to be? A medical doctor?
Dr Ken: Sure. Made up my mind since SS2 but as a child, it was an accountant. I can say I wasn’t one of those forced by parents to read the course.
How and when did you start bead making or should I say jeweling?
Dr Ken: Lol. Any is fine. That’s dated to late 2007. While in school I was already into handmade cards crafting then. Asked Sis to no for sales and sent her money… some got damaged just when I was about to sell. Well you know med school doesn’t make for time as such I missed the opportunity for sales n had to wait to break to get them repaired.
That got me thinking. I had to at least be able to repair stuff made by sis in school. So I requested a list of needed equipment. Bought them and some beads because I had some change. When I made my first beads they weren’t great but yeah I’ve come a long way. In essence, I never went to a beading school.
Someone with such talent would have comfortably gone for a bead making school or something, why did you choose medicine?
Dr. Ken: Lol. The choice of medicine came Way before I knew I had any sort of craftsmanship skills in me. Besides it’s wise to have a degree these days, however, my choice wasn’t influenced by this truth.
It’s always good to be on the safe side. Guess you’re right
Dr. Ken: My decision was made during a biology dissection practical. I was one of the first to finish my dissection. Not much bleeding and all organs were intact. Was afraid of the sight of even my own blood back then. But something changed that day. Now all I can say is that the profession is a noble one.
Sure it is. Which father won’t want to have a doctor as a son?
Dr. Ken: My pleasure comes from seeing almost dead patients bounce to life and knowing I had a hand in it.
That’s awesome. So how do you combine being a doctor and a jeweler?
Dr. Ken: Well it’s hard work sometimes. Having to keep late nights or being home bound during weekends but the yields are worth it.
Dr Ken: In the end am sure I’d rest well when I have to because I would then have
people to do the work for me. That’s in the future because for now am a lone ranger
You’re really a hard worker.
Dr Ken: Lol. I have my lazy self indulging moments but I try.
Now tell me about your bead making business. Is it a company or what you just do alone? Just tell me about anything and everything.
Dr Ken: Well, let’s start with the origin of its name like I said we already know about NOOKS. Another thing about it is, I felt it sounded explosive like the popular NUK. So, loved the way I arranged the initials. Signature is simply a graphical representative of a person’s consent or authorization for transactions. In a way it’s unique to every individual like a fingerprint it ought to be very personal. So I feel each piece I make is like a side of my fingerprint.
In the jewelry business. That made it hard to even used bead bag I purchased in the
beginning as I quickly learned I preferred to go to the market not knowing what to expect or what I’d find to work with. My style is basically to find that unique piece of stone that makes me imagine a whole set and I move around finding the missing pieces to put it together. My brand is simply an expression of me. My essence my imaginative capabilities
But as it is I also get customers that want specific designs already created by others and send the pictures.
I can’t ignore them for now and must humbly wait till I get to make only what I wish and it becomes known enough for customers of others to demand same designs. So I make on order and also still go out of my way to make pieces that are kept with me till someone picks them up. That way my creativity is kept alive and well.
What’s your big plan for NOOKSignature?
Sample of work
Dr Ken: Simply put… in the future, I am gonna work with diamonds and other precious stones and metals. So, it’s not just a childish hobby for me.
Do you have a major client yet…like a celebrity or somebody great that you like a lot?
Dr Ken: I have a few mentors/jewelers I admire and who make me feel my dreams are very achievable. I’m not particular about celebrity images… I’m big on people that means I have to know a person one on one to make up my mind. So gossips and hear-say don’t go well with me… So for now no celebrity I love a lot.
For my bracelets I have had a colleague I can say is my major customer. At a time I had another that was big on my metal linked necklace and earring sets. Had just one bridal work this year and one last two years. Expecting one from same family later this year.
In all honesty that am back on track is all thanks to a dear pal who saw my works and encouraged me to start it all up again during a recess. sold out all my remaining stuff and got me a few orders to begin with.
What was the challenge?
Dr Ken: Oh internship was crazy and at a busy center. After a year of making nothing save for my first bridal work I had almost forgotten the pleasure of being a co-creator and many beautiful stuff until that friend came across my remaining stuff and “gingered” me to make a come back.
Do you ship to other states?
Dr Ken: Well I usually find someone to convey them there
Or the person would have to pay a delivery fee if sent via a driver or waybill.
A friend in need is a friend indeed. Honestly, if you were given a million dollar, will you build a hospital or Jewelry shop?
Dr Ken: Lol…I would love a future where medicine would be my philanthropic gift to the world not for income. So I feel it’ll be wise to first create what would yield the money for that. So, the jewelry shop.
How do people react when you tell them you’re a bead maker and also a doctor?
Dr Ken: Lol… You know people, reaction is not what is always in their heart. All except some of my stricter senior colleagues that feel a professional must face his profession and nothing else applaud me. The fact that I’m a doctor has become my brand. The Jeweler Dr, admidst other names have become how I’m described. It’s so cool that I’ve actually made sales based on the fact that I’m a doctor
It’s intriguing that a doctor would be a bead maker.
Yep I guess.
I was blown away when I heard it. I was so curious to talk with you.
Dr Ken: Lol…that’s fine
So what do you think is the cause of youth unemployment in Nigeria? Government? Youth? School?
Dr Ken: All three can be held responsible. Government: because of lack of initiative to create jobs e.g. by industrialization and repair of refineries. Delving into other sources of revenue like coal etc as in the past.
School: because of failure to teach students other skills aside books as it’s compulsory in Ghanaian schools. Skills like sowing etc.
Youth waiting on the government for everything and refusing to empower themselves with other skills they feel are beneath them.
That’s right. I totally agree with you. Given the chance to start all over again. What would you have done differently? In terms of career choice?
Dr Ken: Nothing really. Not even my university that delayed me because of accreditation problems. But it was that delay and the people I met there that awakened my sleeping talents so no I won’t change a thing.
OK…what’s your definition of success?
Dr Ken: A happy family in my name first. Good relationship with friends etc. Then my dreams. Oh my dreams are many. That’s a talk for another day.
Hmnm…So you’ll consider yourself successful when you have a family to your name?
Dr Ken: Nope. It’s the most integral to me because from experience in my present family
I understand the very vital role of family as a support system for achieving all and everything good but success is more than just a loving family to my name. Do you understand me better now?
Sure I do. The support you get from family is second to none.
Dr Ken: True
What’s your word of advice for that young dreamer who may be reading this now?
Dr Ken: Find and strike the balance but never start to doubt your own dreams. The death of who you are meant to be begins same day you do so. As it is I see dreams as a vision of what we really are if we do the ground work to make it a reality.
Wow…Your story has really inspired me a lot and I hope it will do same to others. Thanks for your invaluable time. I must say I learnt a lot from you.
Dr Ken: Thanks too for this opportunity. I’m truly grateful for your time as well and to Alex for making this possible.
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