Tara Fela Durotoye reveals stepmother “Gave me the passion for cosmetics and beauty”
This week’s ‘African Voices’ on CNN International explores the journey Nigerian Tara Fela Durotoye has taken creating her own brand in the cosmetics world, and how she became the founder of one of the largest make-up empires in the country.
Durotoye opens up to ‘African Voices’ about the influence her stepmother had on her: “She was extremely fashionable. Liked to look beautiful. She was always in the salon every weekend having her nail polish done. Sometimes I had to sit down as a little girl and polish her toenails as well. So I saw the power of cosmetics.”
Durotoye began her career as a make-up artist, while she was an undergraduate at Lagos State University studying law. In ‘Africa Voices’, she speaks about her first make-up job: “The first opportunity that I had was with the daughter of the chief of naval staff. At the time Nigeria was a military government so it meant that the chief of naval staff was number three man in the country… I had my first set of clients who were saying to me ‘I loved the way my friend looked on her wedding day’.”
In 1993, Durotoye created Tara Makeovers. Within five years, she had built up the business into House of Tara, and graduated from university. She has since gone on to open her own line of stores and make-up schools across Nigeria.
She tells ‘African Voices’: “Today we have about 14 make-up schools across the country where people have been trained to become make-up artists. I can confidently say that for 80 percent of the make-up artists that are active players in the industry today, either working as entrepreneurs or working within other beauty brands, are trained by House of Tara. And I think for me that is the greatest joy.’”
After starting the schools, Durotoye went on to create her own line of make-up by looking at the gaps in the market, and she now has more than 100 products across Nigeria. In 2014, she teamed up with global cosmetics company L’Oreal to help with distribution of its products. On the L’Oreal deal, she tells ‘African Voices’: “I was super excited. Someone laughed and said on the day that the Vice President came to visit someone described it as it seemed as if it was my wedding day.”
To hear more about this Nigerian success story, tune in to CNN International’s ‘African Voices’ on with repeat broadcasts at the following times:
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