I express myself through make-up —Adeleke
Adetara Adeleke is a multiple award-winning make-up artist, beauty expert and entrepreneur. The founder of Sherril Beauty Make-up, a beauty home that is fast making a mark in the beauty industry in Nigeria and beyond, in this interview with SEGUN ADEBAYO, speaks about her passion for business, beauty and fashion.
The make-up business industry is booming these days that many ladies are going into the trade. For someone like you who has been doing this for some years now, how do you manage to stay afloat?
The truth is that everybody is doing make-up, but not everybody understands the business and what can make you stay in the business for long. In Nigeria, everybody seems to be doing the same thing but what makes you different from the rest is your service delivery, the product and the approach you take in delivering your service to the people. I pay attention to skin care, application and I always reach out to my clients even after the make-up to see how they are doing because sometimes, you do make-up for people and they get rashes through bad products or dirty brushes.
What exactly led you into this business?
While I was growing up, my mum was a fashionista; so, I learnt a lot from her and of course, when I was in school, I learnt more about it, as well and I have stayed in the business till today.
What did you study in school?
I studied Business Administration at Bowen University. I am a business person, so I am really not cut out for the formal office jobs. My passion for make-up has grown so big over the years and I know this is what I want to do. Hopefully, I will be working with international make-up brands in the nearest future. Apart from that, I am also interested in the special effect make-up that you see in movies and other TV related jobs. Make-up is a broad business, and I have not even explored half of it but I am ready to keep working hard and getting better.
How do you feel studying Business Administration in Bowen for four years and paying huge fees only to end up as a make-up artist?
It does not seem the way you are saying it. This is business. Not just any business, a very lucrative one for that matter. People just have this feeling like once you have gone to school; you must do this or that. My dad is a business person; I think I have learnt a lot about business from him. Don’t forget I told you this is something I am passionate about. So if I wake up every day to go to one job I don’t like, I might not be fulfilled. But waking up every day to make someone look more beautiful and gorgeous gives me so much joy. I don’t get tired of what I do.
Has it always been make-up since you left school or you once tried to get a paid-job?
I actually worked for a while as a part-time employee at KPMG for a while. But even while I was working there, I realised my mind was not really there. I was not really enjoying the habit of waking up by 5am and start preparing for work. By the time you are back, you can’t do other things for yourself. So, I prefer to have my business and give all my attention to it.
You have been doing this for five years now, how big has your business grown and what has been the experience so far?
The business is growing and I am excited about the growth but I am not going to say I feel great yet because I am not where I want to be. I am working hard to have my brand and establish it all around the world. I just want to keep getting better by being consistent at what I do. So, I will say the experience has been so nice because this is what I love to do. Apart from the environmental challenge that tends to disturb one, there is problem of constant electricity supply, which is very essential to the job because you need to be in a cool place to avoid melting and caking of the face.
How lucrative is this business that everybody wants to be involved in it?
I will say it is a booming business but one just has to be patient. For me, it was not like I started make-up today and I was already making it big. Things have changed over the years because I’m getting more experience every time I get to work on a client’s face. I have learnt a lot through trainings, seeing a lot of video on make-up and going outside my comfort zone to seek more knowledge. Some of the jobs I did some years back, when I see them now, I feel I could have done better. That means I have grown and I am learning fast. I am really doing well.
Some people will say the job is not as difficult as it seems because they were self-taught. Others will say they had to go for training to become a professional make-up artist. What was the journey like for you?
Yes, for some people, it is in-built; they are self-taught. But I learnt it because I love it and I am doing so well at it. If you want something and you love it, you go for it. Like I said, the business is broad. Some people are focused on bridal make-up, others are fixed on editorial make-up. They are not so good at the day-to -day make-up.
What do you mean by editorial make-up?
Oh! This is the make-up you see on international magazines around the globe. I know you have seen Vogue and other popular magazines. Some people just do run-away make-up, while some are strictly focused on bridal make-up. There is also the special effect make-up for movies and all that. So, the job is quite broad and I want to specialise in every part of the make-up business. I am quite good at wedding, bridal make-up, party and editorial make-up. I am also much involved in the wedding shoot make-up as well.
They say your brand is very expensive to afford. Is this true?
I am very affordable. You can just trust me when I say I am affordable. I have my products ranging from the low end to high end. So, I have something for everybody.
Tell us how you feel being one of the most talked about make-up artists around?
I don’t know about being one of the most talked about in the business, but I am grateful for how far I have come. That being said, I am not really expressive as a person but through make-up and arts, I find my expression so easily. I don’t think I am special, I just know that when I start working, I don’t know how to stop. I am expressive as a person, so the best way to express myself is through my work and that’s why people say I am always working.
Most people have now taken the fashion and make-up businesses online. You find a lot of them putting their jobs in the social media spaces but people have the belief that most online services always end on a bad taste. What has been your experience about this?
The social media is a world on its own. It has really helped my business a whole lot. In fact, I have more clients outside Nigeria than I have in Ibadan or any other place. I know some people have their reservation when it comes to trusting people, who advertise their services online, but for me, I have had the best offers online and I have more customers that I met online and we have become so close that they refer me for more jobs. I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing, but I have reached out to a lot of people doing this job and selling products online.
Tell us about your not-too-good experience with your client that made you feel bad?
I remember during my training days, a client came in and we did the make-up for her but she kept quiet all along. After the job had been done, she used a towel to clean her face and said she didn’t want it. I just couldn’t find any explanation for that action.
How do you react to insinuations that make-up tends to deceive people a lot?
If I do the same make-up for two people, they won’t look alike. If I do the same make-up for a beautiful person and an averagely beautiful person, they won’t look alike. So, in between the before and after make-up, there is still the beauty of the person; we are just enhancing it. It is not like we are changing the face. So, it still has to do with the person you are making-up.