On Saturday, The News Chronicle, TNC, cut up with an up-coming make-up artiste, Miss Karimat Haruna who recently opened her make-up studio at Dutse, 2nd Gate, Abuja and she spoke about her dreams, aspirations and what it takes to establish a make-up studio. She spoke with our Editor, Amaechi Agbo. Excepts
TNC: May we meet you?
Karimat: My name is Karimat Haruna from Isako LGA in Edo State. I was born on the 20th of April in Bauchi State. I spent my young age in the northern part of the country. I have lived in Kano, Jigawa, Minna and Bauchi States. I understand Hausa, speak very little of Igbo and Yoruba, very little of French then I speak English.
I am the first child in a family of six. I am a Christian even though I bear Muslim name. People have been asking me why don’t I change the name Karimat and be bearing a Christian name. I didn’t want to change the name because I love the meaning. I don’t think there is such name as Christian name or Muslim name. A name is a name just that some are peculiar otherwise somebody can answer Chukwuemeka which means God has done it (laughs). Chukwuemak has Godly trait on it so anybody can answer it.
Karimat means greatness and I see myself being great. Apart from the fact that I am looking at make-up as something I want to do as a profession, I also see myself as being a marriage counsellor. I see myself of being a whole lot of things but these three ones which are a writer, a marriage counsellor and a make-up artiste. So I think I am a great person, why do I need to change the name? For me, it is about the meaning. Etymologically, it is from the Arabians and is an Arabic name and it is seeing as a Muslim name because they are predominantly Muslim.
TNC: What does it take to start a beauty make-up business?
Karimat: It takes determination and conviction that this is what you are really going to do because on the surface you might be tinking that you like the business but when you get in, you will be shocked with what you will encounter.
Make-up business is not the type you would wake up one night and decide to go into. First of all, you need to engage with somebody, serve the person for a period to gain the exposure about the business. Work in a place that is into the business. You have to serve so as to be sure.
Secondly, you need to get the skills, you need to be trained in what you want to do. In service, you can also learn. But some people are in a hurry to just learn and enter into the business. So you need to learn, serve and acquire the business skills because beauty skills is not enough. You will only know how to do the job but how to do the business is also a different ball game. You need to learn the customers service, how to take care of yourself. So these are the three basic requirements – you need to learn, train and get business skills.
TNC: What about the financial involvement?
Karimat: I have heard this cliché that to start a business, you don’t need money, money is not the issue. I did not really understand that until later because I kept asking myself how you can start a business without money. Long ago, I had business ideas but always needed something to start with. So of money was involved, I got relaxed and say when I get money I will start. So, finance is actually the main part of it but I have also learnt that it is not the first thing.
First thing first is the ideas. Once you pass through the ideas, it is very important that you put them down. Putting them down will help you to remember vividly what crossed your mind, to remember the event that brought the idea to your mind. It helps you to tailor these ideas properly. It is the ideas and not really the money to start with. When you have tailored your ideas, you will then start thinking of what to do in order to get the kind of money you need to begin the business and there is a key to every successful business – you need to start, start small.
My studio does not really look like I started small but I did. I started working from home. Then I used my social media network like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp to advertise myself. So when clients called, I would go for home service. If someone calls and says she wants to come to my studio, I will tell her that I don’t have a studio but you can come to my house, I will do the make up for you and they would come.
I created a little space in my house where I just had my mirror, table and box just for my own use. That was how I started until I accumulated just enough to start up fully. I started telling friends, family members my intention and vision and how much I have at hand. If you cannot gather the finance all alone, there is a proverb that a tree cannot make a forest, so you can source for fund. It is either you go for loan or you ask friends and family members. The loan you get from your friends and relative is softer to pay because you don’t have that official pressure to repay. You could be under a mild pressure due to the fact that once in a while they would remind you about it. You also have support from those who see your dreams and liked it and will be motivated to help you. That was how I went about mine.
TNC: What exact amount would it cost to start a make-up studio like this?
Karimat: I have done my own calculation including the rent. There is no specific amount to say one should have before thinking of starting up a make-up studio. The basic capital varies. In terms of rent, the rent we pay here (in Dutse, 2nd Gate) is quite affordable, but in other mega cities like Asokoro, Maitama, Garki in Abuja, it is a different thing.
Position/location matters and that is why even here In Dustse, rent is not the same. There is a mall which is just some polls away from here and a shop there cost about N400, 000. But here, it is quite affordable, I spent close to N700, 000 to put my studio to the level it is now. That does not mean the studio is of standard, no. It is still a work in progress, I felt I should start from somewhere so that with time, we will finish up. So the capital base varies and it depends largely on where you want to build your studio or the location.
Location is very important which is determined by your target. Where you want to situate your studio is key because you need to know if the people, your target customers, actually need what you are going to give them. So, for me, these are the key factors I considered in putting up my studio the way it is now. There is no standard financial involvement in it, it depends on you as an individual.
TNC: How long does it take to be trained as a make-up artiste?
Karimat: Here in Nigeria, we don’t have a school per se where one can go and study it professionally and receive official certificate. Make-up and costuming is subsumed into other courses. We have not seeing it as something to give particular attention yet so we just go for short training for two/three months, some even go for two weeks.
But oversea, I know of a make-up artiste who travelled abroad to learn make-up, to study make-up as a course. The people over there take it seriously because it is a broad course. For you to be a professional make-up person, you should be able to make-up television personnel as well as movie players.
To do this, there are specific things you need to know. It is no just about every day make of bride and groom for wedding. You need to learn the special-effects-kind of make-up. Sad enough, I have not heard about special-effect make-up in Nigeria. So people go abroad and learn all these and when they come down here, they break them into courses for us.
To learn the skills here in Nigeria, there is a training institute in Jos, Plateau State, where they have make-up as a course and run it in two semesters. But to be trained as a real professional make-up artiste, you need three to five years extensive training.
TNC: Do you have a professional union or body?
Karimat: Yes, we do. It is called Make-up Artistes Guild of Nigeria, MAGN. They have been meeting from Lagos where we have all the big make-up industries, to Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Abuja and the rest. We have state connect series; in Abuja we call it make-up connect and it applies to other states too. The process has been kick-started already and in January or February 2017, we have been told, it will be officially opened for registration where members will sign in and get registered. MAGN has been established but it has not opened officially.
TNC: You opened the studio on the 12th of this month, how has it been in your new environment in terms of patronage from the people?
Karimat: When you are new to a place, what you will do is to observe. When I got the place, I was actually coming around to monitor the area and make enquiries but nobody knew what I intended to do. So when I opened, I had young ladies and elderly women coming to ask me for certain products or commodities. A lot of people are interested. Some people have been coming in, some have booked for classes to train next year. I have a student already and last week Saturday made it three weeks we started. The student comes for evening lesson because she works in the bank. Considering that we are new, the response has been wonderful.
TNC: What does it take to train a student or an apprentice?
Karimat: Well, it is not general; for me now, I am running a promo because I am new here. It is my own way of saying ‘patronise us’. So when they come in we give them the price but the promo price for now is N50, 000 for one month. The people are complaining that even at promo it was too high. However, by January next year, I will be running a promo for N30, 000 per month. But that will be for January alone because by the end of January it will be over.
TNC: You are a journalist by profession, yet a make-up artiste by training, why the divergence?
Karimat: Well, I am not professionally a journalist; I trained as a television producer-director. We do all the technicalities – scripting, directing, editing and all that. I did not go into the news gathering but I can actually sieve real news and edit.
I really don’t think I deviated because make-up was part of what I did in my first year. There was make-up and costume. So it is just like me picking the path where my passion lies. I have passion for all of them – presentation, scripting – because I write a lot and then make-up. But overtime, I found out that my passion really lies in make-up. Even after my Diploma course, by the time I got home, I had a box of make-up materials and at that time I was not trained yet professionally to do that. So I knew I love make-up and I was just waiting for the time to gather the resources and go for professional training.
When I felt the passion growing then in school, I told myself that I was a student, so no need to pursue it then. But that was a big mistake I made. Who says that as a student, I can’t learn a trade and then do two things at a time? Of course, one can do two things at a time especially as a student, when it is time for school, you go and when on break, you go for your training.
So, I overlooked that aspect then thinking that what I needed was a job through which I can make money to become a make-up artiste and establish the studio. It then dawned on me that I can start from anywhere with the right idea and attitude.
TNC: Karima Make-up in the next ten years?
Karimat: In the next ten years, I see big dreams from now. I see us having make up plants, tools. I have a reason for using my name as the brand name. I had a lot of names I wrote down to give it but I chose Karima Make-up because I was looking for something I could own so that when our product is picked up, you can easily identify it. Karima Make-up is a brand. We will be having brush face, eye shadows, foundation. That is where I am going. I am looking at a very big academy where we will train professionally just like the way people go to school to learn and acquire certificates or degrees.
I also see myself growing from the bridal make-up, everyday dress up; I am looking at the time that is in two to three years now, when I will be on television, magazines and doing jobs for them.
TNC: Thank you for your time
Karimat: It is my great honour, thank you