Women flourish on make-up business
According to reports, Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa with a population estimated at 173.6 million and a rise in spending on beauty, aesthetics and wellness. As an emerging market, growing sales in the beauty and personal care sector were valued at $600m in 2011, up from $439.8m in 2006.
Economists predict that by 2016, Nigeria’s young, yet increasingly sophisticated population will drive the beauty/ personal care industry sales to $620.2m. This projection is not far-fetched as 77 per cent of Nigerian women use skin enhancement products, the highest percentage in the world.
In 2014, the industry reportedly generated over $35 billion with the make-up aspect alone commanding a market share of 17 per cent. In addition, there is also an expected market growth of over $42bn in 2015 due to increase in the construction of shopping malls, beauty, wellness, spa and aesthetics centres across different cities in Nigeria.
This continued growth is also supported by the number of local companies that are gradually building plants within Nigeria to compete with foreign brands.
Some 10 to 15 years ago, only celebrities and the elite in Nigeria were passionate about making up but these days, the beauty fad has been embraced by all classes of women, from the educated to the illiterates and the wealthy to low-income earners.
The flock to making-up has spun a flock to the make-up business, as ladies, unrestricted by classes, seek to beat poverty and joblessness by setting up shop making their fellow women look very attractive. The business has become so inviting that even university graduates are abandoning their fields of study to make the make-up business their career.
Amra Mansur, a professional make-up artist, is a graduate of Law from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Amra said she started make-up as a hobby many years ago but the passion grew and she turned it into business over a year ago.
“It was a passionate hobby, which I was very good at. My friends would come to me to make them up and when I realized I was really good at it, I decided to make it a profession,” she said.
The 23-year-old Kaduna State indigene said since she naturally has a flair for the art, all she had to do was develop her skills, which she did by taking lessons from celebrity make-up artists like Mamza Beauty and Bedazzeled and also by watching make-up videos on Youtube.
The proprietor of Ami_ Mansur Beauty Studios noted that she started the business with a capital of about half a million naira, which she sourced from personal savings, family and friends. She admitted the business is lucrative and she has been reaping the rewards of her enterprise.
The employer of four identified every woman as her target client, as she runs several packages in casual and bridal make-up across the country. She, however, derives special delight making up brides because “it gives me so much pleasure helping them put their best face forward on the most important day of their lives.”
Amra advised that for a woman to be a professional in the beauty field, she must be very artistic, sharp and especially precise, “as the whole idea of make-up is to make a woman more beautiful and flawless by playing with colors and emphasizing her best features.”
Another make-up artist, Fadeke Moses said she left her “hectic” banking job about two years ago to learn the trade, which has turned out, she declared,adding the best thing to ever happen to her.
Fadeke noted there is truly a surge in the make-up business, which has greatly helped in providing employment opportunities for ladies. What has extensively contributed to the surge is what she called a cultural shift as beauty consciousness, using the general make-up mode, now cuts across ethnic and religious boundaries. “More people are now aware of beautifying their appearance, which has resulted in a ready market for the business,” she said.
The banker turned makeup artist enthused she has taken her business to high levels, with patronage from upper-class clients celebrating functions like weddings and birthdays. As she claimed, she sometimes makes as high as N500,000 in a month.
“Times have changed. People are more aware on good looks; they want to look good. When I realized how ready the make-up business was, I joined the business by taking classes. I even did online classes on the trade. Today, I run a training school, I train students and when they are done, there are always jobs for them. It’s quite a big market still being tapped. I’m sure that if our parents had known about this, they would have loved to do it, but they were not aware,” Fadeke stressed.
Shade Adeyemi, who has been in the business for about five years, recalled there was a time making up the way it is today was a taboo in the society and frowned at it. But not anymore as she added, more and more women can’t but make up to enhance their beauty. And as the consciousness spreads, so do employment opportunities open up for more women.
Shade said she learnt the trade in 2010 on a holiday visit with her husband to the United Kingdom, where she took a one-week class on it. With jobs thereafter on her clients, she has, she boasted, become adept at her career.
Shade argued that the high cost of doing business in Nigeria is the major reason why international make-up brands are thriving in Nigeria. She said when she goes to make women up they insist on using foreign products in which they have more confidence.
“The major issue with Nigerians is that we don’t trust anything local. It’s not just about make-up, it’s in every other industry,” she said.
She attributed the high cost of imported make-up materials as reason why the cost of making a lady in the country up is high, noting if a client demands local products for the service to be given her, she is likely to pay half the price of what asking for imported products would attract.
“Some women will specifically tell you they want Marykay products, or Avon or Mabelline or Clarins. These are very costly products that will attract high service charges when used on the customer. One can imagine how much a customer should be prepared to pay if I have to use these brands on her for the mascara, eye shadow, lip liner, lipstick, foundation and so on, plus my service charge,” she said.
Affirming the business is rewarding, Shade confided that she charges up to N50,000, or even more, for some faces she makes up.
She enjoined more women to join the business, adding it is a decent way to earn a living for oneself, as well as lending financial support to the family and contribute to the economy.