Women flour­ish on make-up busi­ness

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Olayemi John-Men­sah and Lat­i­fat Opoola

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.

Amra Mansur

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