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While many of us left our childhood hobbies behind, Muneerah put in the necessary work and turned that hobby into a successful business – Facebeat by Neerah.
In this candid conversation, we delve into Muneerah’s journey from discovering her love for makeup in junior secondary school to transforming it into a successful career. She shares her proudest moments, the challenges she's faced, and her exciting plans for the future as a makeup artist and entrepreneur.
Nice to meet you, Neerah. Can you give us a quick backstory into how Facebeat by Neerah started?
Facebeat by Neerah became a business in 2017. I was fresh out of secondary school and my dad wanted me to learn a skill instead of just sitting at home doing nothing. And since I already had a thing for makeup, I decided to learn how to do it professionally.
Smart move! Could you walk us through what a typical busy day in your life as a makeup artist looks like?
Sure thing! My busiest days are usually Saturdays because that's when most events like weddings and funerals happen. I usually head out at least two hours before my scheduled appointments. While setting up, I take the time to make sure I understand what the client wants. That’s why we’ve never been dragged for “what I ordered” vs. “what I got”. If I have time and the client allows, I try to take some pictures for my portfolio. A regular session takes about an hour, maybe an hour and a half if I want to take my time. Sometimes, like this one time, I had just two hours to do makeup for three people who had a photoshoot and an event right after. I set up to work on three faces at the same time, moving from skin prep for one, and while the face was drying, I was working on a second person, and as the second person was drying, I worked on the third person, while returning to the first person to start applying her powder and eye shadow. But I managed to finish on time, and the feedback was great – the makeup lasted the entire day.
Talk about doings!
What inspired you to become a makeup artist in the first place?
Honestly, I've been into makeup since my junior secondary school days. I would save money to buy makeup from street vendors. My classmates and friends were my first clients, even though they didn't pay N1. I did their makeup for school parties and even our graduation. I became kind of popular in school because I was everybody’s go-to girl for everything makeup. When Lagos State University served me breakfast, my dad specifically instructed me to learn a skill. I had a choice between fashion design and makeup, and obviously, I chose makeup. It took a bit of convincing, especially with my conservative Muslim mom, but I'm glad I stuck with it because makeup has become a major part of my life.
Things we love to see. Now, what are some common misconceptions people have about you, especially as a MUA
People see me and they go “Oh she’s a vibe so she’s definitely an extrovert”. But my close friends know that I’m a proper homebody. I just cosplay as an extrovert sometimes or at least that’s what people think.
Now let’s talk about your proudest moment as a business owner, does any event come to mind?
My proudest moment has to be when I could finally afford to restock my makeup supplies and equipment without relying on anybody. In the beginning, I couldn't charge much, and I relied on friends for help. But for the past two years, I've been able to buy everything I need on my own – from my ring light to chairs. That's something I'm really proud of.
Neerah Money, share this money, please…
They won’t whine you people o (laughs).
So do you consider to be the biggest challenge in your business?
Dealing with clients who try to take advantage of my pricing can be tough. Some clients question my rates, expecting me to charge less just because I'm not a famous makeup artist yet. Others try to outsmart me by paying for standard makeup sessions when they are actually brides. Omooo, it’s a whole thing and it’s extremely frustrating.
Sorry you had to deal with that. Looking ahead, do you see makeup as the main focus of your life in the next 5 years?
Absolutely! In the next 5 years, I plan to expand my skills to include photography since it goes hand in hand with makeup. I want to have a makeup and photography studio, offer training, and maybe even start my own makeup line.
Sounds like you have big plans! Do you see yourself working a traditional 9-5 job at any point?
Ah! No way! Honestly, I have always had an eye for business, and I see a corporate job as limiting and confining. I feel it wouldn’t push me to be much. So, I don't really see myself in a 9-5 job.
And lastly, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the impact of your business on your financial life?
I'd say an 8.5. The remaining 1.5 is thanks to the support of my family who have been there for me. I'm truly grateful for my business and all it has afforded me.
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As a young child, you looked forward to adulting. It always looked fun to you. You couldn’t wait to become independent, receive instructions from no one and take ‘charge’ of your life. But it’s not what you expected. You eventually find that the transition to adulthood can be challenging due to financial concerns, family obligations, and the realities of the day-to-day life of a working adult. It’s overwhelming! It hurts even more when you think about the economic status of the country and its influence in making things difficult around us. The rate of inflation makes things very expensive and the little you get to save does not seem to be acquiring enough interest. By the time savings targets are met, the prices of your wants or needs experience a rapid increase.