One time glamour capital of Lagos, Allen Avenue, received a boost penultimate weekend when rookie and professional make-up artists alike converged on it from various parts of the country at the behest of Vessie Goldsmith cosmetics- the new kid on the block of cosmetic products in Nigeria.
The two day stakeholders’ forum saw celebrities mingling with make-up artists, models and the trendy Allen Avenue crowd; including professional and business women: evidence that make-up artistry has become a strong movement in the country.
It is a good a time as any for the entrance of the Vessie Goldsmith brand, an American original which sought expansion to Nigeria and the rest of Africa because of the response of black women to their various products.
The highlight of the event was the announcement of the firm’s intention to open a production factory in Nigeria in the nearest future in order to make available more opportunities along the value chain.
Emmanuel Ibeka, Vessie Goldsmith cosmetics African Regional Manager while intimating stakeholders of the development, narrated the story of the brand, narrating that black women kept coming back while dropping other products. “There was something unique about the undertone which fit perfectly with black women’.
Referring to the Nigerian beauty industry as a massive one, he opined that a lot of gaps remain to be filled and finding a niche will not be a problem.
“When you go out, you see ladies; they keep touching up their powder. More importantly, we are innovative, being the first to introduce technology into our processes by way of an app”
The ever growing beauty industry appears to be saturated, but Ibeka would hear none of it. “The status quo is what other brands are doing and we are challenging that. For instance, we are adding some tech aspects into the beauty industry”.
As a man entering the industry, there are surely some challenges? Ibeka does not see them. Rather, the former banker and telecoms marketer insists all elements of marketing are the same. “It is the same push, the same determination. When I started in telecoms, I did not have any experience in the industry. I remember the first interview where I was asked : we are looking for a marketer. Coming from a bank, what can you offer? I told them I only have one thing on the table and that is the zeal and passion to succeed. It is the same zeal and passion I am bringing to the beauty industry”.
It certainly helped that he is also married to an industry player, as Emmanuel reveals his spouse made him fall in love with the beauty industry by the way she applies her make-up. Corroborating Ibeka, wife, Lois, a make-up artist herself, said she encouraged him in so many ways.
“First of all he wanted to stop working in telecoms and I know he had cold feet but as a make-up artist I already had an office so I knew it was something that would work. I was so sure this was our calling so I started telling him about guys who are make-up artists and so on”.
According to Lois, most of the products that women use are produced by men even if they don’t get to use make-up. “One thing in marriage is, if you try to advise someone the person also has to see that you are also settled about it”.
Tasked on why he is working with make up artists, he reveals that 95% of the sales of the brand, which entered the Nigerian market in November 2017, have come from Instagram, with Nigerian make-up artistry stars garnering as many as many as almost a million followers on the social network. “The make-up artists are the key players in the industry”, he stresses. “They are part of the process. It will be a win-win”.