Tara Fela-Durotoye’s dream was to become a lawyer but when she got admission into the university, she found out that Law was just father’s passion for her and not her own dream.
Working at a perfume store, which also sold cosmetic helped her realise that she loved entrepreneurship. So, having realized how women respond to makeup, she started her business as a bridal makeup artist and her first job happened 21 years ago.
From her first client, who is the daughter of the Chief of Naval staff during the military era, she had many other clients that job kick-started her company.
That business that started 21 years ago has grown into a company that has a retail arm distributing their own line of cosmetics across the country. The company has 29 stores, 19 training centers and beauty representative business.
However, these successes haven’t come without their own challenges. In this chat with WazobiaTV, Tara confesses that she has had many low moments but one stands out for her.
Two years ago Tara went to China and as she walked into a small store, the owner, recognizing her accent, asked if she was interested in Tara products and wanted to sell the products in her country.
To convince Tara, the store owner showed her invoices of products that had been shipped to Congo, Gambia and other African countries. The store owner also showed her the products and when Tara saw them, she stared in disbelief.
They were her products with the same packaging. So similar were they that Tara almost couldn’t tell the difference from hers but she knew they were counterfeited. Unfortunately, they were selling them in mass, including in Nigeria.
“Building a brand and see someone else benefit from it was very demoralizing. Also because we didn’t have the institutions in the country to protect a brand like Tara. It was a very low moment for the business because it also affected our sales and revenue because when people were thinking they were buying the original, they were actually buying the fake. We struggled through trying to fight it on our own,” she said, noting that her company has learnt new tricks to fighting counterfeit.
Tara also mentioned the challenges that are gender specific that she has faced. Some she has embraced as part of her journey, some, she continues to speak against it.
On balancing work and family life, Tara doesn’t believe that there is consistent balance. She thinks that something suffers as she recalls her journey as a young mum, who had her children simultaneously.
Having maids that leave her house as soon as they resume, attending her children’s school activities and teaching her house helps the attributes she wants her children to having.
While attending to the needs of her husband, children and her young business, Tara felt she didn’t have time for herself until her first child left for boarding school.
As her children grow, Tara says she has been able to do many of the things she wants to do, like, gardening and mentoring. In terms of managing the home, Tara counts herself lucky for having a very supportive husband.
She also appreciates her committed staff, who, over the years, have helped her to be stable in doing her job.
Watch her speak here
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