‘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
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.