Why I stopped making up for the dead - Banke Meshida Explains - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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Why I stopped making up for the dead - Banke Meshida Explains

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Popular make-up artist, Banke Meshida, also known as BM Pro, speaks with MOBOLA SADIQ about her career and other issues

What is your educational qualification and how did you start Banke Meshida Professional (BM Pro)

I studied English at the University of Lagos. So, I had a lot of time to read, broaden my mind and expand my horizon in so many areas.

While in school, I used to do my make-up myself. I would make up in the morning and spend about two hours just playing around with cosmetics. Sometimes, I would even be late to class. However, people always noticed that I had good make-up on and they usually asked me questions.

Then, I had a roommate whose sister was getting married at a time and she asked me to do the bride’s make-up and I excitedly agreed. After the wedding, there were a lot of photographs and good reviews (of my work) afterwards. Since then, it has been from one referral to the other. Basically, make-up was a hobby that has now become what I do for a living.

How were you able to grow your business over the years?

I have always been a lover of cosmetics. But over the years, there were some things I wished some of these products could do but they couldn’t deliver. So, I did some research and found that I could get people who would create formulas specifically for me, made to suit dark skin, especially the Nigerian skin tone. I then found some factories that would create (products) for me. We started with just 14 products but we have grown and our cosmetics range is doing very well. Now, we have over 200 beauty products.

What were the challenges you faced when you started the business?

One of the challenges was training staff to be efficient. We live in a society where many believe that when a person masters a craft, he or she can’t work for a boss anymore. They then start their own business but sadly, they don’t last long.  Financing is also one of our major problems. I have just cultivated the habit of investing back into my business. If I make N100, I would put N95 back into the business and expand the product line I’m using to generate wealth. I have not got to the point where I can spend the proceeds of my business (on myself). Lack of infrastructure is also a problem– electricity, data, etc. Yet, we are competing on a global scale. Nigeria does not really favour small businesses but we are not quitting.

Have you ever thought of quitting make-up business?

It’s not about quitting make-up business but stopping operation in Nigeria. A couple of times, I have thought about relocating but a part of me still feels like I should work here. Having centres abroad is also difficult because of the way I have chosen to do my business which is service-based.

Hopefully, things will change (for the better) and we wouldn’t throw in the towel. In Nigeria, we pay so much to have the basic amenities of life. It is really expensive to exist in this country.

We are always praying but why should we always do that? Why can’t things just get better? I had a branch in Ikeja and apart from the fact that the people there were not delivering financially, they were also running their own racket. You can imagine with one has branches in the 36 states of the country– that is the same headache one would face in 36 places I am still trying to find a way around these challenges.

What are the toughest lessons you’ve learnt in business?

The first lesson is loyalty– it’s very rare but possible. I have had people who worked for me for years and also those who worked for weeks. I have been blessed with some good employees and clients that will even fight battles (on my behalf) and try to steer me in the right direction. I have learnt to appreciate people that are loyal to me and have my back.

The second lesson is steadfastness. Beauty keeps evolving, trends change, but what has separated us from the pack is the high standard that we place on our services.

As a beauty entrepreneur, what is your opinion about cosmetic surgery?

If it makes you happy, by all means, go ahead. But if your health is in danger or you risk looking ridiculous, don’t do it. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but some still look ridiculous. Beauty is relative and a confident woman would be self-assured on all levels. The world is better with happy people rather than people filled with regrets. One of my mantras in life is ‘as you lay your head, so you lie on it’. Never hold anyone responsible for anything concerning you. If you’re going to do cosmetic surgery, do your research.

What do you think about organic creams that enhance feminine features?

Many things have changed. One owes oneself the privilege of enlightening oneself. If one reads the ingredients of all cosmetic products, one would most likely find something toxic. The worst-case scenario is if it is produced in some countries where there is no strict regulation. One would just be risking one’s life. Cancer is real and it starts from toxins. Any organic cream that claims to give a permanent result is most likely bogus. I don’t trust what some beauty entrepreneurs say. It is rather unfortunate because a lot of them are just in it for quick bucks. Before you put anything on your face, you need to find out what’s inside it. When people ask why I don’t manufacture my make-up products in Nigeria, I tell them it’s because there is no structure for quality control. There are too many loopholes.

Do you personally do make-up for all your prominent clients?

I have trusted hands. If I am unable to be physically present, my clients are happy to go with my recommendations. I have been able to replicate myself in my staff and it’s such a blessing, which is why I want to do more for my team. I hear that some people hog premium clients to themselves but what if the person is not able to be there, would the customer have to cancel the appointment? I have been blessed to work with upstanding people that have integrity. For the ones who go beyond my back to lure my customers, I have come to accept that (it happens) and will not chase them.

Some people are of the opinion that make-up ages one. Is that true?

Make-up doesn’t age one. What ages one is if the person reacts negatively to a product and keeps using it.  If it wrecks one’s skin, one would age faster. Anything done in excess is likely to be bad for one. It is important to let one’s skin breathe. It’s not all the time that one should apply make-up. It is important to know how one’s skin reacts to different products. I usually advise that people should schedule make-up-free days.

What’s your advice to up and coming make-up artists?

You have to decide on the type of make-up you want to do and give it your all. I see people doing special effects, weddings and fashion shows. But there are several other facets of make-up artistry– everybody doesn’t have to do the same thing. How come no one is trying to create a look for the Oscars and high-profile fashion shows? I’m in a good place because I’m happy with what I have created but once one starts doing make-up for the Emmy (awards in USA), I know that people would rush there. I wish people will explore other areas of make-up artistry because the field is wide.

Is there any type of make-up you don’t do?

I’ve been called occasionally to do make-up for dead people but I declined. I didn’t like the first experience I had. It’s such a sorrowful space to be in and I couldn’t deal with it. It left such a bad taste. I found it emotionally draining and made up my mind that I wouldn’t do it again. It’s a completely different skill set because one is working on skin that is not living; the colour and shading would different. However, it is a very lucrative aspect of make-up artistry because not many people possess the skill. I do every other thing except making up for the dead.

Do you want any of your children to toe your path?

Of course, I’ll like that. In our parents’ era, they all wanted their children to be lawyers and doctors but see what played out.  Yes, I’ll love my kids to toe my line but I’ll also respect their choices. Thankfully, my kids love make-up.

How do you relax?

When I’m not working, I either watch movies, have a massage or sit down doing absolutely nothing. I also connect with my fans on Instagram.

Do you cook?

I love cooking but I don’t like clearing the dishes. These days, I have someone who cooks (for me) and I really like the taste. When I cook, it’s superb and my kids love it.

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