Itinerant Beauticians: Dressing Clients, Smiling To Banks
WITH not too many jobs out there for every qualified and employable hand, some youths instead of bemoaning the situation have tucked their various high school and university certificates away, and are taking up new opportunities in the beauty and makeup business.
Using their creativity, this group of young people are not only happy that they are living their passion, but are also pleased with the income, freedom and clientele they come across in the process of eking out a living.
Different from the conventional open-shop arrangement, where clients come and get dressed up or beautified for any event, this set of young entrepreneurs have changed the face of beauty business by meeting their clients in any part of the country. They have turned themselves to itinerant beauticians, moving from one location to another, with their carrier bags or tool kits.
Moving in groups of twos or threes for quick service and also to provide some security, these mobile beauticians charge their clients according to the distance they have to cover, client’s status and the nature of work to be done.
Thinking that by their modus operandi, their clients would be women, Adenike of Nikky and Clothes, said no. According to her, their clients cut across men and women, even, including children.
“Though, our clients cut across different classes of people, we have come to discover that some high profile people that do not want people to know who their beauticians are or announce where their beauty homes are make use of us. They call us and we dress them up for any event in the comfy of their homes or offices.
“All they do is to tell us what they want, where they are going to and we give them that unique look, be it for business meetings or party. We handle special effects makeup and makeups for photo shoots, TV/filmmaking, weddings and tattoos in any part of the body. We also help ladies that cannot tie their traditional headgear to do that. Getting advance information enables us get the right people that can do the job and the materials too. Apart from makeup, we also help to dress up anybody, even corpses,” she said.
Using the Internet to facilitate their business, Adenike revealed that she and her group had to explore to upgrade their business, when their shops where pulled down in Ikeja, Lagos and were initially unable to afford a new shop.
Operating from some makeshift apartment, Adenike and her team, with their computers and makeup tools ventured into business, first doing it for free, to tell people what they can do.
“The business is good and from the normal four hands we had while operating from a shop, we now have over 24 hands, including university students. I make more money as roaming beautician and pay less on rents. The only risk is the fear of accident on the road, because we travel most times,”Adenike added.
On the business is worth all the risk? Rita, a part-time student of Lagos State University and the CEO of Richy Beauties, revealed that the money is worth the risk.
“Sometimes, we make up to N100,000 a week and if we are called from Lagos to any part of the country, the money goes higher. And I tell you none of us goes home with anything less than N70,000 a month. I cannot imagine any business that would give me so much room to operate, study and at the same time make money. Through this business, I have visited over 25 states of the federation and the list keeps on growing. I have clients across different tribes and religions.
According to Rita, the beauty business is wide and needs a lot of skilled hands to meet up with customers’ needs. Rita, who said she started the business four years ago, before becoming student informed that to be on top of the game one must acquire some skills in the basics of makeup application and also know the right makeup to apply on people based on their facial structure, occasion and even religion.
“The job entails learning, you can never say you have known enough because as one meets different people you take on more difficult exercises and continue to learn throughout the career,” she noted.
Not depending on her skills alone, Rita revealed that she always seek to broaden her contact by making her team to put in their best to build good relationships which in turn leads to more clients, bringing high-paying jobs and business opportunities.
For Tomiwa, a sociologist-turned beautician, the urge to be creative, self-employed and not answerable to anyone made her take up makeup business and she has no regrets coming into it.
“It has paid my bills, funded my education, given me a roof over my head and provided fund to establish my cosmetics store. On the average I make N50,000 per week, spend less on overhead cost and need not quarrel with local council authorities over illegal council dues. Besides, it has taken me to different parts of the country, including Abuja and Sokoto State, where I dressed some bridal trains; so what else do I need that my beauty business cannot provide.
“Though, we do more of roving, going to homes to plait hairs for children, men and women and also handling some of the things most people would not like to do in the salon, like tattooing ladies’ sensitive parts, the job pays well if you are well connected, have the right people and the skill.
“At times too, we help dress up imbecile children, some people may not want their neighbours to know, cut or plait their hair and do their pedi- and manicures and all these are not for free, we charge heavily and they pay, ” she revealed.
According to Tomiwa, starting up, one needs to undergo some training or stay long with those that have mastered the trade to hone one’s skill, identify the cosmetics to use and where and how to get them. Besides, she warned, it is not a venture that one person can say he or she would carry out because there are different aspects of the business a client may need at a time. For this, one needs to work with a group of people that may handle other parts; so, it is more of a synergy.
On reason for patronising itinerant beauticians, Mrs. Gloria Isuche, said, “ I am a career woman, I hardly find time to go the salon, so every weekend, I like to spend it with my family. So, I patronise them because they do my beauty routines in my home, at my convenience; they save me from engaging in the normal salon gists and also the time.
“Though, I pay higher for their services, it gives me the privilege to do other things at home while I am being treated,” she noted.
Estimating the revenue loss in taxes to government as a result of this set of mobile entrepreneurs not having formal place to run their businesses, Mrs. Isuche said they pay other forms of rates for Internet services and communication with customers. Also, they are helping other businesses to grow by providing door-to-door services, not too common in this part of our world. Lastly, they are engaging our youths, so it is like a circle; if government does this, the people should do that.
Aluro, who had never worked elsewhere since 1997 when she graduated said, government should be grateful for the ingenuity, which has led to many youths getting jobs and paying their way to school.
Recalling how she ventured into the business, she said: “I took to beautifying people first as a passion and later as a career, when for years I was unemployed. And looking back, I have no course to regret my action because I can get anything I want. The job is as paying as any job anyone can think of and there’s no limit to the number of operators coming into it,” she noted.
Despite the sweet stories from different practitioners, Aluro cautions that it is not a business anybody could just venture into.
“Apart from the interest, you need to be groomed, get the necessary skills, study different face types, skin tone and work under a master.