My Business Story

Self-Taught Entrepreneur Excites Tough Beauty Market

Young makeup artist takes on a crowded market and finds a profitable niche

Some think it only takes a lipstick and an eye pencil to become a makeup artist. So saturated is the industry that standing shoulders above other so-called makeup artists might be a tall order, especially if you initially didn’t enjoy the support of those who should be your first set of clients – family and friends.

Titilayo Yussuff decided to take makeup art seriously after graduation not only because she enjoyed it, but also because she had a point to prove. 

She recalled: “It started initially as a hobby five years ago while I was in the university. I became fond of makeup and started acquiring some products, watched a couple of videos and blogs, which I got fascinated over the transformations. So I decided to take a bold step and started practicing which led to my first makeup gig in my church back then and that was how Hermosaa evolved.”

Business Brief:
Started: 2015
Social Media Contact:
Instagram: @hermosaa_ng
Facebook: fb/Hermosaamakeupstudio

Hermosaa is the name of Titilayo’s makeup art parlour located at Kampala Street, Off Adetokunbo Ademola, Wuse II, Abuja. 

Although Titilayo was an undergraduate when she started as an amateur makeup artist, the Business Management graduate from the University of Wales did not think she would stick with her hobby for long, much less make a career out of it. 

“To be honest, I seriously considered a 9-5 job after NYSC, as my aunty felt that securing a job would be safer,” she admitted. “But deep down inside I knew that life was not for me. I wanted to be in control and I had plans of running a business someday. Being an entrepreneur was something I always dreamt about so I decided to take that risk.” 

Although Titilayo wanted to be taken seriously from the start and sought the support of family and friends who, naturally, are the first set of clients in her line of business, it took some effort to get convince them.

She said: “My family and close friends persuaded me to get a job but I was able to convince them to give me a chance to prove myself.  To be honest it was never easy. I had to secure a little space, market my brand, register my business, source for products and build my clientele base all at the same time and by myself. It took a while but eventually I got referrals from friends and family.”

This may sound cheesy, but there’s a huge difference between DIY and when makeup is professionally done

Titilayo registered Hermosaa Make Up Studios Ltd in March 2015 and has experienced a lot of changes in the makeup business in the years she’s been around. But what was that big break and when did it happen?

She recalled, “I used to wake up early on Sundays especially to put on make up to church just to get people’s opinions. It eventually got me my first big job, which was a bridal gig. I was so scared and excited at the same time as I didn’t believe someone could trust me to do their make up knowing full well I was just an amateur. It went very well and from there I got referrals.”

She also prides herself on being a self-taught make-up artist. “I remember back when I was in the university, I was able to save up some money from my part-time job. I bought few products, stayed up watching videos and reading blogs as I couldn’t afford a makeup school so the only option I had was to sit down and teach myself. Yes I am a self-taught makeup artist, it took a lot of practice, patience, passion and criticism but I got there.”

What sets her service apart? Her response was simple, “At Hermosaa, it is all about simplicity and class. We aim to enhance and not alter our client’s appearance.” 

In a world of DIY, who really needs a makeup artist? Titilayo smiled: “This may sound cheesy, but there’s a huge difference between DIY and when makeup is professionally done. The application, longevity and very importantly, what suites each individual, only come with the professional touch.”

Judging by her clientele base, this strategy can be said to be working for Titilayo. She has worked for former President Gooodluck Jonathan, Ondo State First Lady and TY Bello among other high profile clients. 

She has also been featured on fashion programmes on MTV Base and Spice TV. 

She must have made it big and does it mean she charges a fortune for a make-up gig? Titilayo replied: “I charge based on the type of event they’re having or attending. For example, a wedding guest will be charged differently from a bride. Our turnover varies on the season and type of services, but I can tell you at Hermosaa we make it a priority that we are profitable every month.”

Finally, we asked where she sees Hermosaa in the foreseeable future. “I see Hermosaa expanding with branches all over the country,” she said. “Our products being sold in up class retail stores around the world and I see a brand recognized for only quality products and services.”