Deola Bakare is a graduate of Samuel Ajayi Crowther University. She is also a make-up artist with a special knack for aesthetics. Her foray into make-up business began during her NYSC days. Since then the dream has grew by leaps and bounds. In this interview with Ugo Aliogo, she speaks about the business and future dreams
What is the name of your make-up house and what do you specialise in?
The name of the make-up house is Rella Makeover. I specialise basically in make-ups at differently stages such as carnival make-over, bridal make-over, bridal showers, traditional and essentially anything artistic. While I was in school, I did make-overs for people participating in drama presentations.
Why did you go into make-up?
I went into make-up because of my desired to look good and find out what works for me. An individual might be in a particular career line, but that may not be what the individual is created to do. For me, I decided to decipher one special thing I would do aside from radio broadcasting. Then I realised that something artistic such as make-up would suit me. My foray into make-up began during my one year national service. During my NYSC year, I decided to engage in entrepreneurial skills while I was in camp. I was among the core facilitators who trained fellow corps members on hands entrepreneurial initiatives. Through this process, I realised that I had interest in make-up and I decided to push further. There were other options, such as hair styling, and shoe making, which I learnt. But I have realised that in life you cannot venture into everything. While some pursuit will work out, others will not. What is important is your area of interest as an individual. For me, make-up was something I found very interesting. It is something I do with ease. I was never forced into it, I will never grumble when it involves make-up, even if I’m offered a little amount of money. So ultimately, it is the passion for the job that drives me.
In the make-up business, what efforts are you making to distinguish your brand?
Presently, I’m working on some certain initiatives which I will not like to make public. I want my make-up line to be beyond just doing make-overs; I want to own an academy where I can build the capacity of young people in the business. I’m also in talks with some government officials concerning a partnership agreement. I’m also interested in entrepreneurship, while my company will be a co-facilitator to empower youths for free. Aside from being a make-up artist, I also want to run a company that specialises in event management, and decorations. In terms of entrepreneurship, I want to bring Rella Make-over to public awareness. The focus is for people to see the brand beyond just make-up. But a platform where they can explore and grow. I’m also planning on building a Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO). In line with this therefore, I have been working with some individuals in achieving this, but it is not forthcoming yet due to financial constraints.
What is your assessment of the make-up business in Nigeria?
The make-up industry in Nigeria is making progress. The industry is competing favourably with the movie and the music industries respectively. My reason for making this assertion is because sometimes we purchase foundation for make-up for 30,000 to 40,000. Some of us who are financially buoyant travel abroad to do master classes in order to improve our skills. The industry has grown at such alarming rate that people spend as much as $1,000 to tie gele in the United Kingdom. While in Nigeria, we have some artists who tie their gele for N10, 000 and N15, 000, while for the striving ones tie for N1,500. The make-up business in Nigeria has come to stay judging from the new grounds we are breaking. It is a business capable of giving you as low as N5,000 when you do make-up for one client. You end up not using N5, 000 worth of products. Basically, I think why we go into make-up is because of the interest. The theme of the make-up in Europe is focused on simplicity, while for us the focus is creativity. We are concerned about adding extra-creativity to raise our standard. The major difference between a make-over from the Western world and Africa is the culture behind us. Africans believe in core artistic work. Whenever we do any artistic work we strive to put an understanding to it, while for Europe, they place emphasis on simplicity. I want to say here that we have been able to measure up with them, especially with our standards in the make-up game. The make-up business is artistic. What works for one particular individual may not work another individual.
Have you attended Master classes and trainings?
I have attended Master classes and training programmes. Master classes help to broaden your knowledge in the make-up business. It also helps to improve your skill sets in the business.
Where is your target market?
My target market is the youths. Aside from profit making, my desire is to build an academy to train young people about the rudiments of the make-up business. The focus will be on secondary students, youth corps members and married women (who have the intention to grow entrepreneurial skills in make-up business). Presently, I enjoy patronage from those organising social functions.
What do you see as a challenge in the make-up industry in Nigeria?
We have a lot of challenges. The first challenge is mobility. Here, a lot of things are put into consideration such as transportation, logistics and cost of procurement. Therefore when a make-up artist charges a particular client a certain fee say N100, 000. The money covers transportation, and cost of procurement of materials. Also, the make-up products are expensive to purchase especially if you are buying good quality products. Again, the industry is very competitive here in Nigeria. We have some key players in the industry who we believe they were the first set to venture into the business. Therefore their brand is a household name. Some of the leading names include House of Terra, Jaga beauty, and others. As a result of their quality and track record in the business, they are sought after by many. For us who are up and coming, we are trying to find our space in the value-chain by ensuring that we take a leadership position.
What is the focus of Rellas Make-over five years from now?
The plan is that Rellas Make-over will be in five different states in Nigeria. It will be also be an international platform for people to reckon with. Beyond just make-over, the plan is to build an academy that will drive entrepreneurship and develop capacity in make-up business.