My brand is not for the elite alone -Banke Meshida-Lawal
Beautiful and hard working Banke Meshida-Lawal needs no introduction when it comes to makeup in Nigeria. The ebony black beauty with creative fingers gained prominence with her makeup artistry during her undergraduate days at the University of Lagos.
Her clientele is made up of high society’s women who love to be transformed by her magic fingers. Banke loves talking about nurturing her craft and ways she keeps managing the intimidating presence of society’s most powerful women.
Her greatest desire is to position BMpro as the reliable and consistent brand. Today August 21st is Banke’s birthday and we are inspired by her success story. Read her story below and be inspired too.
As a child, in primary school, I took art lessons. I have always enjoyed drawing and painting. I see makeup as an extension of fine arts because it is also about mixing colours, sketching and creating designs.
I would also say that my parents encouraged the artistic elements in me one way or the other. But I actually wanted to be a diplomat. I used to dream of travelling around the world. For me, makeup came about by chance.
I always found myself doing it in the university, so it became natural to make a business out of it. I would wear makeup and people will ask me to help them out.
I did that for strangers and friends without hesitation. So, after graduation, I got too busy and booked for makeup jobs. It then became the next thing to do. I enjoy makeup and everything that has to do with beauty.
Creativity in the blood
I grew up in Ife. I had fun while growing up and my parents were liberal. They allowed us to do things we wanted to do, but they also instilled values, hard work and discipline.
They made us to realize that we cannot always get all what we want in life. We are six children and we have musician, motivational speaker, lawyer and banker.
Though my siblings are all artistic, some of them do mainstream jobs. I think we took those traits from our parents who are also artistic. Though my father is an engineer, he plays the violin well. He went further to teach us all how to play the violin and classic music enriches the mind and develops the brain.
Coming from such a background helped me to be where I am today. We relocated to Lagos when I was in my primary school. I went to Queens College in Yaba, Lagos, for my secondary education and later proceeded to the University of Lagos.
How BMpro was born
When I thought of starting my company, BMpro, the truth is that I just wanted to do makeup; I wasn’t thinking of anything.
So there were many things I didn’t do at the beginning. I just wanted to make people beautiful when I started the whole thing. I didn’t even think makeup will get to the level it is now. I am very happy with the way the industry has grown and I keep striving to give quality.
My brand is not for the elite alone; that misconception is because people feel that when something is quality, it has to be expensive. And this is because we are used to having poor services around us.
You will be surprised that what we charge is as same as or lower than what others charge. But I don’t pay attention to things like that. I just want to position
BMpro as the reliable and consistent brand. BMpro means Banke Meshida Professional. I wasn’t married when I started the company, I didn’t want a name that will be hard for people to pronounce or remember.
At BMpro, we have a makeup line; we do makeup for occasions, we have a training school and we do advisory too. We also recently introduced an online magazine to showcase what we do and our clients.
Challenges come in different forms
Except when I had administrative issues, I don’t think there was a time I wished I had done another profession.
The makeup industry in Nigeria today is one to reckon with. The business terrain in Nigeria could be tough, but we have been able to create a makeup industry.
You have management problems, rent, electricity supply, etc which are unstable. You would be using a property and the next thing is for the owner to increase the cost without justification.
There was a time I travelled to do makeup and materials didn’t leave Lagos. The airline didn’t carry them, so I had to hurriedly go shopping because I couldn’t let my client knew what had happened.
Makeup could either make or mar you
You should wear makeup; it shouldn’t wear you. I feel bad when clients say their husbands don’t allow them to wear makeup. But I can actually understand where such man is coming from.
Some people wear makeup and you wonder why they look in such a way. I shouldn’t enter a room and the first thing I see is your makeup. Your makeup should complement you and be a final version of you, not the other way.
Your makeup can actually make you look horrible or beautiful. When it is nicely done, you will also know by the comment you get from people around you.
Counsel for upcoming makeup artists
Emerging and young makeup artists should focus on the arm of makeup they want to do and do it well. They shouldn’t try to be someone else.