‘Youths should learn a skill, no mat­ter the de­gree they’ve ac­quired’ - Bilk­isu



Why did you choose this par­tic­u­lar busi­ness and for how long have you been in it?

Be­yond be­ing a geog­ra­pher and ed­u­ca­tion­ist, I had a strong de­sire to build a ca­reer in the make-up in­dus­try. I have been in this busi­ness for about 10 years. The grace of God and my pas­sion for the job ac­tu­ally brought me this far. My very first bridal job was in 2004.

How did you learn it?

Firstly, it was just a fun thing. Then I re­alised my big aun­ties and sis­ters called me to tie their head­gear each time they had events to at­tend be­cause my ty­ing al­ways stood out. Later it pro­gressed into do­ing make-ups and head­gears for my sis­ters and cousins dur­ing their wed­ding. I had so many makeup books and mag­a­zines which in­spired my cre­ativ­ity. The en­cour­age­ment I got from my hus­band and fam­ily, made me leave my sons of 6 and 3years old be­hind with my hus­band in Kano, to train pro­fes­sion­ally in Abuja at House of Tara makeup school in 2009.

In terms of cap­i­tal, how much do you need to start with?

Well, it de­pends on how big you want to start up your makeup busi­ness. At the ini­tial stage you get to spend a lot try­ing to ac­quire the skill and equip­ping yourself for the busi­ness but there af­ter things get eas­ier. For those who want to have a prod­uct line, man­u­fac­tur­ing of the makeup prod­ucts is cap­i­tal in­ten­sive. though even­tu­ally when one finds out the se­cret of the busi­ness, it def­i­nitely gets eas­ier too.

What were the ini­tial chal­lenges you faced?

Hmm chal­lenges (smiles)...I hon­estly can­not re­mem­ber any one now, maybe be­cause I be­lieve so much in prayers and AL­LAH’s will. I do not dis­turb my­self over any­thing, if any­thing did not work out then it was never meant to be. I al­ways ac­cept Al­lah’s de­cree and move on with the next thing. Again my hus­band has been very sup­port­ive be­yond any­one can imag­ine so that has made the busi­ness start-up Bilk­isu Ab­dul­salam, a B.Sc holder in cen­tres in Abuja and Lokoja. Ge­og­ra­phy and PGD in Man­age­ment from Speak­ing to WEEKEND, she talks about out how Bayero Univer­sity Kano, is the cre­ative mind she copes with com­pe­ti­tion, jog­gles gles her be­hind ALSHAMA MAKEUP ACADEMY AND busi­ness with the home front and the projects STU­DIO with head of­fice in Kano and train­ing she has un­der­taken so far.

Words by easy for me.

In ev­ery busi­ness, there’s com­pe­ti­tion. How do you cope with it?

With all hu­mil­ity I be­lieve in my abil­i­ties and I am con­fi­dent about my job. I com­pete with my­self alone by striv­ing to do bet­ter each day. I have cre­ated a niche for my­self and my makeup style stands me out. ALSHAMA has quite a num­ber of loyal clients and I am baf­fled at how they sing our praises; know­ing that they have some­time got their makeup job done by makeup artist whom I ad­mire my­self. I give God all the glory.

Cus­tomers are the soul of busi­ness. How do you get and main­tain them?

Most of our clients at ALSHAMA hap­pen to be re­fer­rals and that I ap­pre­ci­ate a lot as this sends a strong mes­sage that there is some­thing I am do­ing right.

I hold my clients in high es­teem and keep a very good re­la­tion­ship with them. Most im­por­tantly I make them re­alise that in as much as I am in the busi­ness to make lit­tle profit, there’s more to life than money which is good re­la­tion­ship with people. For me that is more re­ward­ing only if we un­der­stand.

How do you jog­gle your job and the fam­ily?

I have sched­ule and I plan my time in such a way it doesn’t af­fect my time for the fam­ily. Even when I have home ser­vice I go with my kids a times if my hus­band is out of town and they al­ways have fun. It has also earned me nu­mer­ous prayers from clients who ad­mire me for be­ing a hard­work­ing and car­ing mum. The best thing that has hap­pened to me is be­ing a boss of my­self. I love to care for my hus­band and the kids’ es­pe­cially cook­ing nice meals and as­sist­ing them do their home­work. I cher­ish ev­ery time spent with my lovely fam­ily.

What is the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the make-up biz and en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try?

It is a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship and that is healthy for both in­dus­tries. For ex­am­ple the movie in­dus­try needs make-up artists to work on the ac­tresses and ac­tors be­fore they go on set. The makeup artist works with fash­ion de­sign­ers too. Both in­dus­tries have re­ally helped in tak­ing many of the un­em­ployed youths off the labour mar­ket to be­come ca­reer

people. eople.

What projects worked on?



I have worked on a few projects but the most re­cent is the 5day make-up class I am em­bark­ing on now and head­gear train­ing which is to hold Abuja from 3rd-7th April 2014. An­other is com­ing up in Lokoja in May. We mo­ti­vate and em­power the stu­dents by giv­ing so much for less.

What ad­vice do you have those who want to go into the busi­ness, es­pe­cially the youths?

My hon­est ad­vice to the youths is that they should go and learn a skill no mat­ter the de­grees they have ac­quired. Those cer­tifi­cates are mere pa­pers and can’t earn you money. You will make more money be­ing a boss of your own who runs her small busi­ness than drop­ping your CV for a job you will never be given.

Be an em­ployer of labour and an em­ployee. Alshama Makeup Academy gives her train­ing at a price ev­ery young woman can af­ford which is our own lit­tle way of mo­ti­vat­ing and em­pow­er­ing the youths. Most im­por­tantly, put God first in all you do, work hard and shun vi­o­lence.

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