Onyinye Ubah

I have always lived in the land of the rising sun, the eastern part of Nigeria. Somehow, the thought of life after university was quite scary for me. It was a situation one could be left hanging. The fear of what to do with the professional life ahead of you and the huge expectation of people around you was capable of giving a sleepless night. That was the battle I found myself in, where I was torn between having to practice what I studied and following the path of my passion. In my undergraduate days, I had the opportunity to learn the art of makeup during one of the holidays. Not quite long after that, I was appointed as the official makeup artist at the beauty pageant in Nnamdi Azikiwe University where I studied Corporative Economics and management. Looking back at these stages I passed through, it is funny how those little step were preparing me for the world ahead of me.

After my NYSC in 2016, I guess it was time to settle the battle between my passion and what I had studied. I went for three series of interviews in a company in Awka for a job opening. The working conditions were not favorable at all. While contemplating if I should go forward with it or not, something happened. It was eventually the incidence that broke the camel’s back. It was the sexual advancement by the manager of that company which was a criterion if I was going to work for him. It was a heart wrenching moment for me. It was at that point I began contemplating on my passion for makeup. That rejection for that job opportunity led me to take makeup seriously since that was the other option I was left with. Stepping into a world you are not familiar with is never easy. So, I began with freelance makeup since that was quite easier and used it as a testing ground on what was ahead of me. In those beginning stages, the likes of Joyce Jacobs, Beauty by Vicky and Diva divine were sources of inspiration to me.

Back home, nobody knew my plans. AS usual, they were expecting me to pick up a white collar job as expected from a graduate. Despite their expectations, I was sure of what I wanted to do and didn’t look back. The funny thing was that they didn’t know I had learnt makeup in my undergraduate days. I still wonder how I hid it from them for quite some time. When my mother eventually found out, she was concerned. Her concerns were mostly hinged on the stressful aspect of my job as a makeup artist. As time went on, everyone adjusted and had no choice than to accept the path I had chosen.

My goal to establish a makeup studio in the Eastern Nigeria was not easy. Coincidentally, I got married and moved to Nnewi in Anambra state. The change of environment did not stop my passion. I was out there still making survey and research on how to kick start my make up business successfully. In my research, I got to find out there were not many established makeup studio in Nnewi as of that time, so I had to grab the opportunity and changed the game. In the beginning, a whole lot of people never took me seriously. Some considered it a sheer waste of time and energy. I had a lot of hurdles to cross before I got to this point where I am now. While still battling that, the issue of under pricing came up. I found out that trying hard to convince people on why I charge them the way I did was one of the major challenges I was always faced it in my early days. They could not understand why makeup as a craft should be expensive. In time, everyone adjusted and understood that good things in life come with a cost you must be willing to pay.

After the hurdle of establishing a studio, the next hurdle to cross was keeping up with the ever changing trend of makeup. There was the never ending training. When it comes to trend, make up changes so fast – sometimes in months! You are left with buying new makeup kits and tools in order to keep with the trend, else you become obsolete. Added to the fast changing trend is the never ending fierce competition. In order to keep myself afloat, I needed to work extremely hard and that has eventually paid off.

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