Bobbys Hair & Cosmetics AS was established in 1989 by our founder Ram Avtar Sharma affectionately known as Bobby by our customers.
Bobby immigrated to Norway from India in 1974, and after several years of jumping from jobs on farms, plucking strawberry, to factories working on large dump trucks, he wanted to start his own business. His first venture into the world of business would be in the fashion world. Through his connections in the UK, he started imporing leather jackets and flanell shirts and selling them at a stall rented on Karl Johan. After a while, the stalls became to small and it was time to upgrade to a physical store. The 15 m2 store in Grensen would be the first Bobbys store in history. The first years, from 1985 to 1989, Bobby would continue selling clothing imported from the UK. But the gradual transfer over to cosmetics would come as an idea from the friends he played cricket with.
THE BOBBYS CONCEPT SEES ITS FIRST LIGHT
In his youth in India, Bobby had a healthy interest in cricket. An interest he tried to keep alive once established with a family here in Norway. He, together with others with the same passion from India, Pakistan, the British Embassy and the Caribbean, would go on to start the first cricket club in Norway – Oslo Cricket Club. It was these friends from the Caribbean Culture Club who also persuaded Bobby to bring over some much needed hair and skincare products from the UK. As Bobby frequently visited London on purchasing trips for his clothing store, his friends Caribbean friends from cricket repeatedly asked him if he could bring over products such as Palmers Cocoa Butter and various types of hairfood. Bobby wrote down lists on the requests, and for each trip, the lists became longer and longer. Once the lists became longer than a full sheet of paper, a lightbulb went off in Bobbys head – why not start a shop in Oslo for the products this community were starving for? He asked his cricket friends to write up all the products they would want and went off to London again, this time on a mission to talk to shop owners and trying to find where he could buy products wholesale. In May of 1989 the first official shipment of haircare products from the UK arrived at the store, filling up two complete shelves, and Bobbys Afro Hår, was officially a reality. That first shipment sold out in under a week and it was the first time Bobby realized this could actually work.
THE FIRST BOBBYS STORE OPENS
After setting up all the contacts and finding the correct people in London, Bobby started using more and more of his store space for hair and skin products. It was his friends from the Caribbean Culture Club who spread the word initially. Finally they had a place they could find products they needed. But Bobby knew he needed to reach out broader than that in order to continue to make the store work, so he contacted Oslo Municipality in hope that they would give him details of others immigrants. However, then as now, giving out such details was not possible, but the municipality told Bobby if he sent them the information, they could post it at the municipality board for people to see. So Bobby wrote over 30 handwritten letters to the largest municipality’s in Norway asking them to do the same. Once that was done, he wrote even more letters to embassies of countries from South-America, Africa, the Caribbean and to NATO-bases in Norway trying to spread the word of his new store. Even then, the soon-to-be family venture had the whole family as support casts, with Bobbys wife folding letters and his son helping to seal the envelopes with the letters inside.
BOBBYS MOVES TO SKIPPERGATA
And though times have changed, the company’s commitment to being a family-owned and operated store remains unchanged. Their employees are considered part of their big family, and the company continues to grow while retaining loyal customers. Bobbys is known as Norway’s first specialist store for Afro hair and skin products, gained expertise through collaborations with leading manufacturers. They have organized courses and seminars for professionals in the industry and pride themselves as Norway’s leading anti- permanent shop. The company offers a wide range of real loose hair products with over 8 different lengths and almost 30 colors, ensuring high-quality products and competitive prices. They work closely with suppliers to provide an unrivaled selection of hair care products. Bobbys has also kept up with the demand for hair products for curly hair and offers a diverse selection of crowd favorites and unique products. They invite customers to visit their store in Oslo for personalized assistance with hair care, anti-perms, loose hair, extensions, and more.