Friday, 5 September 2014

'I Started Doing Business On OAU Campus'

Omosewa Okubanjo is a graduate of Management and Accounting from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University and currently the Chief Executive Officer of Swan Beauty. Before now, Okubanjo was the Online Activity Manager and Makeup Artist for House of Tara International. She speaks with Busayo Adekoya, about her road to success as a young entrepreneur

Who is Omosewa Okubanjo?
Omosewa is a multi-talented, dynamic, intelligent CEO of Swan Beauty. Am a graduate of Management and Accounting, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile Ife.

Can you give light on what Swan beauty is all about?
Swan Beauty is an indigenous professional makeup company which has her root as far back as 2007 on OAU campus and was then called Swansea Makeovers. Swan Beauty has a unique style of simplicity with sophistication and known for superior customer service.

When did you discover your Passion for Makeup?
I discovered I had a passion for makeup as a young girl, because I remember back then when my mum was ready to leave for the office, I'd join her staff bus and they'll drop me off at school, so I was always there in the morning when mum applied her makeup which was just white powder, (sometimes pancake), black pencil over an unshaped brow, very red lipstick applied in layers of about six and then a beauty spot with black pencil beside her mouth...... Was it monotonous for me to watch? No! Was it fun to watch? Yes!

After secondary school, I was allowed to play with makeup a bit, but I never liked loud colours, it was always mild. Then when I got into the university, I had a big flat box of makeup from my uncle as a birthday gift, I was rehearsing with that and people came into my room to have me apply their makeup. I thought to myself, ‘let me obtain a certificate for this art’, so during one of our long breaks in school, I went to Creative Minds School of Event Management and Beauty Therapy and took a course in Advanced Makeup artistry and that's it!

When did you start your journey into the business and how did you get the resources to open a beauty outlet?
While in OAU, people knew me for Makeup, I had done a few of my friends' sisters' wedding makeup, dinner time was like the busiest for me, any job I did, I bought a makeup item, when I got my monthly allowance I also bought a needed makeup item and that was how I began. Then I saved enough, got a makeup box and arranged my things in there properly. I organised training in my final year. It was a great success.

I was studying Management and Accounting and was hoping after graduation, I'll only work a while and then save enough money and start a Makeup studio. But as God would have it, the first major job I got after school was at House of Tara International, I was the Online Activity Manager and Makeup Artist and that further fuelled my love for Makeup. I later left House of Tara to go for my NYSC. Fast forward, I worked in other companies and the decided to take Daystar Leadership Academy (DLA) - which was an eye opener for leadership and management both personally and business-wise. After then, I resolved not to search for a job anymore, I started saving up again and then I got an office space at 15, Akinsemoyin Street, Off Bode Thomas, Surulere, Lagos.

Did it affect your study in school?
No. Out of station job was majorly a weekend thing. The only issue was that I travelled a lot while in school.

Were your parents supportive of your career?
Well, my dad was at first not happy at the path I took, because he just wanted me to be an accountant, work in an office and maybe one day become the Chief Accountant General of Nigeria, but I made him understand that I love and enjoy what I do and I made him see a better picture. My mum is late, but I'll say she was and is still my greatest fan and inspiration. She didn't have the opportunity to see me gain admission into the university, but in my mind, she'd always been in the picture.

How well has this business been profitable? 
Like any other business, it has been profitable, depending on the services we render we make good profit on a job. But it has it's down times as well, and those are times you need to bring your managerial skills to work, planning of your finances, income and expenditure.

Like many businesses, it comes with its challenges. What are yours and how have you been able to manage them?
One of the first challenges was being able to separate family and friends from business, but realising that when your business is not going well, even families and friends will not recognise you, they'll call you ‘foolish’. We also used to have a problem with under-pricing and this was tackled by raising the standard and quality of services we render, such that clients get the value for their money.

What is your vision for Swan Beauty in the coming years?
I see Swan Beauty as a household name in Nigeria and outside the shores as well. We are trying to strategise a plan of making our own makeup products. Though, we currently produce skin and facial care products, which are made up from natural sources, such as honey, avocado, cucumber and the likes due to its demand from our clients who have skin and facial problems and so far it has really become a success.

Who are your role models?
Bobbi-Brown, Tara Fela-Durotoye, AJ Crimson, Banke Meshida Lawal and Kevin James Bennett,

How do you advise young people in the country seeking employment and other entrepreneurs in the line of your business?
I just want to say don’t wait for anything in life, go for it. If you are a student, don’t wait till you get your certificate or go for NYSC before you start thinking or turning your ideas into reality. The best way to live is to be your own boss and everyone is endowed with such ability. There is nothing new about ideas, it is how you make it better than what had existed. Be inspired, be creative, bring your very best to work and with your hands, you would achieve the best. Also learn how to manage available funds to achieve great results. Keep believing and trusting God because with him, all things are possible.

Source: ThisDay Live
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