In our bid to support the growth of the Nigerian and African economies, we are always on the lookout for creative talents who are contributing their fair share as entrepreneurs and excelling in their respective fields of interest. In this exclusive interview, we chat with Titilayo Yussuff of Hermosaa, a top Abuja-based makeup artist as she shares her passions, motivations, the journey so far and her future goals.
Meet Titilayo Yussuff of Hermosaa, the makeup artist beautifying women across Africa’s most populous country and beyond…
SR: Hello Hermosaa, tell us a bit about your background; sort of a brief bio.
TY: My name is Titilayo Yussuff. I am a full-time makeup artist and the CEO of Hermosaa Makeup Studio based in Abuja, Nigeria. I studied Business Management at the University of Wales Lampeter (Trinity Saint David), after which, I worked for a couple of years in London before I decided the 9-5 life is not for me. Basically, I love dimensioning faces and creating new perspectives without altering your natural looks. The feeling is rather priceless and even better when my clients are elated and satisfied.
SR: At what point did you decide that you wanted to be a makeup artist?
TY: On moving back to Nigeria for my NYSC, I tried securing a job but as life would have it that didn’t happen. But again, I knew that 9-5 life was not for me, and for a couple of reasons;
- I am passionate about makeup.
- I wanted to be in control of my time and energy.
- I love taking calculated risks.
- I have always been drawn to growing something out of nothing and nurturing for it – hence the birth of Hermosaa, which I hope to grow into a multi-million-dollar enterprise someday.
Being an entrepreneur was something I always dreamt about so I decided to take that risk; I mean if you don’t try you can never tell how well or bad it will turn out. Also, you will never know what you are capable of!
SR: Quite ambitious! What is the most important business lesson you’ve learnt as a professional makeup artist?
TY: Asides having skills and staying abreast of trends, managing people and relationships are key to longevity in this industry. I have to come to the realization that patience, communication and understanding are the three essential characteristics required to be a successful makeup artist. This is especially important when it comes to increasing customer retention in this line of business.
SR: Great points. So, there’s an understated kind of elegance that shines through your makeup work. How have you been able to stand out in such a competitive industry?
TY: I would say passion, discipline, efficiency and hard work have brought me this far. Also, continuous practice and the constant search for ways to improve my skills daily, as well as staying in line with growing trends. At Hermosaa it is all about simplicity and class. We aim to enhance and not alter our client’s appearance.
SR: That’s very important as many women are unrecognizable after a makeup job. So tell us, what are the biggest challenges makeup artists face in Nigeria?
TY: Personally, I would say having to travel to various locations. Most especially places I have never imagined myself visiting – both nationally (rural and urban) and internationally. You just never know what to expect!
SR: How do you stay abreast of the latest makeup trends?
TY: By staying socially savvy! I am constantly researching products. Everyone is on some kind of digital platform on a daily basis, so searching for trending hashtags and viral topics on different platforms helps. I have also enrolled in various courses to enhance my skills. I believe no one is above learning, there is always new knowledge to gain.
SR: So share some tips with us. Is there a common mistake you see women make in their everyday makeup application? What’s your recommendation?
TY: I will say shaping and defining the brows. A lot of ladies still make this mistake in 2019, but this is understandable because it is an art that requires constant practice. I typically like my brows feathered out and softly carved. A beautiful and easy way to achieve this is by following your natural brow hair, filling in lightly ONLY areas with little or no hair; then using a concealer (preferably a shade or two shades lighter than your usual shade) and an angle brush to highlight under the brows. Next, carving above the brow with your matching foundation/concealer. Finally, blend! Blend! Blend! The importance of this cannot be overemphasized.
SR: “Carving above the brow with your matching foundation/concealer.” That’s very important as many women use the lighter concealer above their brows too.
What’s the easiest way to switch up a daytime look into a night time look?
TY: Lashes! Opting for more voluminous and flirty lashes and throwing on bold lip stains – think red, burgundy or pink – can dramatically change your look.
SR: What advice do you have for upcoming makeup artists?
TY: Stay passionate, dedicated, and true to your art. Be willing to accept criticism and learn and not dwell on them. Fuel your passion and keep striving to be the best version of yourself and it will reflect in your art.
SR: Very well said Titilayo! So, where do you see your brand in 5 years?
TY: I see Hermosaa scaling into a household brand and launching a range of “best in class” products that will be sold in retail stores nationally and internationally. The Hermosaa brand will be recognized for quality products for all skin tones. Also, within Nigeria, we will open a chain of beauty studios in strategic locations with a solid, well-trained team.
SR: Titilayo, It’s been really wonderful getting to know the woman behind the art. Must add that the future looks very bright for you. Here’s wishing that your dreams come true.
To see more of Titilayo Yusuff’s work, click here to visit her page on Instagram.
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