The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Creative Director of Nigeria’s most popular and versatile make-up artistes, body adornment and beauty products experts, House of Tara International, Mrs. Tara Fela-Durotoye, has reiterated the need for creativity among youths and school children as a means of transforming Nigeria’s economy and creating jobs.
She gave this charge on Tuesday, 22nd April, 2014, during the formal opening ceremony of the 2014 National Creativity Week organised recently in Abuja, by the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture & National Orientation in Collaboration with the Ministries of Information, Trade and Investments, Nigerian Film Corporation, Nigeria Copyright Commission, National Film and Video Censors Board, and all the Parastatals of the Ministry.
As a motivational speaker at the ceremony, Mrs. Fela-Durotoye shared her success story as an entrepreneur encouraging parents and students to see the need to develop their talents for that which they are passionate about, stressing that money to start up a creative business should not be a barrier for one’s passion.
Her words: “Just point something you are passionate about and package it in a way that it can give value to somebody and the person is willing to transfer money to you for the service that you deliver to them…, for those that are parents here I want you to also hear me, there are some children that will come to you tomorrow and say I want to become a makeup artist, if you forget the successful ones in the industry just remember me because I have made a success of it that means your child will also make a success of it too.”
She narrated how House of Tara International started, noting that her creative ingenuity for makeup and fashion was triggered by her step mother: “I was raised by a step-mother and my step mother who incidentally used to work in the Ministry of Culture and she studied Fine Arts, fantastic woman, very fashionable, so when you look at her dressing table she had make-up products, she would paint her face in the morning, she never missed her hairdressing appointment, her nail polish was always perfect, I grew up seeing her adorn herself and I like looking at her through all that process, I didn’t know that a seed was being sown in my heart.”
According to the doyen of makeup in Nigeria, her business and entrepreneurship skill was stirred by an advertiser, who spoke to her about being business conscious years ago while she was in secondary school: “I was in secondary school many years ago and a man came to speak to us and he came to speak to us as an entrepreneur, that is, as a business man. He was in advertising and because he was creative, I found him interesting. He made me interested in business…. I eventually went to the university and I studied law. As an undergraduate, while I was still in school I started a business. I started with just N15,000 (fifteen thousand naira). It is less than the cost of a blackberry phone. Today, House of Tara has over 3000 Sales Representatives across Nigeria. House of Tara has offices in 25 States in this country. In Abuja alone, we have two (2) branches. We are in Kaduna, Kano, Ilorin, Port Harcourt, Abuja, etc. My company is big.”
As it is with every success story, challenges abound, as Fela-Durotoye was quick to share her challenges in the business with the children: “When I started my business as a makeup artist, people used to say, ‘What is makeup artist?’ ‘What does it mean?’ ‘Is it painting of face?’ ‘Do you mean I will pay you to paint my face? Ehn! Really? You must be joking. Go and get a job.’ My uncle called me, he said, ‘My dear, you know you studied law; we are all waiting for you to open your own chambers;’ because they did not see the potentials of the industry that I am in today. I went into it; it did not exist before and today, it is a big business.”
Her words of encouragement to the children was that of inspiration and motivation believing that she has sown a seed just like the one her step mother had sown in her life that germinated into House of Tara of International repute: “I want to leave here believing that I have psyched some of you to desire to become entrepreneurs, to desire to bring value to people not necessarily in health, not necessarily in the legal sector, not necessarily in oil and gas, or in government but in enterprise using something you are passionate about, something you love to do. I am not saying that being a lawyer or doctor is bad but I am saying that the opportunities are much more in the creative sector because it is an industry that is still neglected.”
There were also paper presentations by students based on the theme, goodwill messages and cultural dances from students of various Secondary Schools in the FCT, including NYSC Drama Troupe and Deaf Afro Mine Troupe of Nigeria.
Njideka Justina Dimgba