BY AYO ALONGE firstname.lastname@example.org
Guess who has a degree and even obtained a masters but delved into the business of makeup artistry and now stands as one of the best and most popular makeup artiste in town? He is Ladi Munis, the CEO of Ladi Munis Enterprises and the brain behind the Nigerian Make-Over Show, a renowned show for star makeup artistes in Nigeria and beyond.
He opines that Nigeria has the potential to succeed a great deal in the business, knowing what is obtainable in developed countries. “I have brought many big names from different countries of the world and we are having the eighth edition this year. We brought popular Anita Baker’s personal makeup artiste to Nigeria and when we met, she saw some of the things we did and she reasoned that we are good at what we do in the business. Nigerians are copycats. She said Nigerians are great copycas. Once they see it, they do it times 10 of what the Whites have done. She even said Nigerians may soon take her talent away from her”, said Ladong.
Sunday Sun had a chat with this Lagos State indigene who shared his success story in business with us among other issues. Excerpts:
May we know you better?
I am Ladi Munis, popularly known as Ladong. I am the Creative Director of the Nigerian Make-Over Show and a celebrity makeup artiste born and bred in Surulere, Lagos. I am graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University where I studied Physical and Health Education and when I discovered that I was passionate about artistry , I had to go back to OAU for my MBA since I already knew I am a self-employed kind of person. I have also done a lot of professional courses just to upgrade myself as a modern makeup artiste.
In the past, it appeared that the makeup business was exclusively for women but now we have many men in the business. What does it feel like being in this business with your female counterparts?
For me, it feels good and I feel honored. I have discovered that any female- inclined job that you see men go into, we do it better . We have this keen eye for what women do. Likewise, any female venturing into any male profession excels always. When I was studying at OAU, we had this lady who was in the Faculty of Engineering and as the only female, she was on top of the other 35 males that were her course mates. For me, it’s just for you to make the extra effort into what you are doing because you want to make a name and a statement. That’s your selling point.
What jobs have you done that boosted your business?
I have done a lot of musical videos like the one that featured Timaya and Kiss Daniel. That of Patoranking and Waje are my recent works. I do the makeup for most of these artistes. In 2011, I did makeup for former beauty queen, Sylvia Nduka, who was the former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria. Working with her gave me a leverage in my career. You know what it means to work with a reigning queen? I was more of her personal official makeup artiste. Through the media also, I have a lot of clients because people kept asking to know who was behind the beautiful looks of Miss Nigeria. I have also worked with Chika Ike and a band owned by Senator Ita-Giwa. I also did makeup for Lilian Bach, Muma Gee and other major celebrities in that band which won me patronage.
What did you have in mind when you were going into business?
First and foremost, when we were in school, I didn’t even know I would end up going into makeup. As a graduate, I thought I would work in a bank and that was what I was looking at. I finally thought of doing something else just to make ends meet and I soon resolved to go into the makeup business which I think has been in me. My mother, during her time, was an ex-beauty queen and my elder sister was into modeling. I grew up among people who were into beauty business and I knew I had it inside me. When I left secondary school and I was just 16, I went into modeling and at 18, I was already exposed to makeup. We always attended Making of the Models and another guy and I were involved. I was already into the arts at an early stage and when I left the university, I just said I would go into this. You won’t believe, as I always tell people, I started my business with just N500.
So, how did a N500 business grow to the level it is now? Tell us about the magic, please.
That time, I was even doing it free for people. Later, a friend of mine came back from the UK and gave me her makeup box, because she didn’t know how to use it. I called my mum and told her all the makeup kits I wanted to buy with the money to fill my box. I bought powders, pencils and lip glosses and everything else with the N500. I started experimenting on people’s faces and that was how I was introduced to different studios and I started getting jobs from top stars.
Are we supposed to believe that this business is lucrative if someone else has to go into it?
It’s very lucrative if you want to venture into it. It all depends on passion and that is the only way you can make good money. It also takes extra effort and that would sell you as an individual. If you say all you are looking for is money, you may not make even N1 but when you are passionate about the job, there is patronage. Gone are those days when people bought just anything; today, people buy things that will enhance their skin. The materials are not cheap, because most of them are made from roots. So, you don’t find them cheap in the market. When you do such works, there must be a return but before the return, you must have done a very good job.
How about the challenges in the business?
One of the major challenges is people not paying you what you are worth. Sometimes, after you have done the work, people may tell you “it’s not fine”. At that moment, you don’t even want to talk about money again because you are sad. When I started up, some tried to play smart with me. After doing the job, they refused to pay and told me “ it’s not as good” as they wanted it. I just told them at least, someone introduced you to me, because you saw what I did for her and why are you complaining? When they behave this way it’s just because they didn’t want to pay the price. I have overcome that, because I have been doing that for over a decade now.
In this part of the world, how would you rate what we have now in this business and what’s obtainable in most developed countries?
We are not behind at all. Nigerians are creative people. As the creative designer of Nigeria Make-Over Show, I have brought many big names from different countries and we are having the eighth edition this year. We brought popular Anita Baker’s personal makeup artiste to Nigeria and when we met, she saw some of the things we did and said we are good at what we do in the business. Nigerians are copycats. In the artistic world, just show them and they would do it better. That was what Sharon, the international makeup artiste told me. She said Nigerians are great copycats. Once they see it, they do times 10 of what the whites have done. She even said Nigerians may soon take her talent away from her. Anyway, it shouldn’t be that we always have to copy from the whites. Quality is what we should improve on.
So, how do we address the issue of quality in Nigeria and how do we improve on our products and services because that has always been the challenge we face in the Nigerian market?
I have been in the business for a while and I think people should learn to do it right. We can do this by giving free seminars and workshops. I think that will change the mentality of budding makeup artistes. All these things are not for fun and we need to change the status quo. What others inherit is what they would continue with. If it’s done the right way, Nigeria can do better in makeup artistry and maybe government should pump money into this sector. We make artistes beautiful but how many people recognize makeup artistes? None, except for those that probably have a solid background. I had nothing when I started and I built it up to this level. Things can never be right if we don’t embark on a series of training.
What should we expect from you in the next five years?
Source : SunOnline