In the last decade, a series of changes have occurred in the beauty industry all over the world. These changes have brought about an exceptional growth of the industry. According to an industry forecast, the global cosmetic industry was valued at over US$508 billion in 2018 and is expected to be worth over US$758 billion by 2025. Along with the continued growth of emerging markets in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, the connotations and expectations associated with beauty products and services inevitably continue to shift and evolve.
It’s no secret that the beauty industry is a growing one across the African continent and it’s also no surprise that this industry has been a nurturing nest for female entrepreneurs on the continent. Whether they are known as cosmetic, fashion or beauty entrepreneurs, these women are turning heads and making waves in the industry.
When we think about “Beauty entrepreneurs” names like Bobbi Brown, Kylie Jenner, Huda Kattan (founder of Huda Beauty) and Kim Kardashian come to mind but when you narrow it down to “African Beauty entrepreneurs”, I’m sure you’re having a hard time thinking of any names. Well, I can tell you Africa is booming with Beauty entrepreneurs all over the continent. Don’t believe me? Check out these five women who are trailblazers and game changes in the world of beauty in Africa
Tara Fela-Durotoye – Founder of House of Tara – Nigeria
Tara Fela-Durotoye is a Lawyer and Beauty Entrepreneur. She is the founder and current C.E.O of House of Tara International. A pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria, she launched the first bridal directory in 1999, set up international standard makeup studios and established the first makeup school in Nigeria; the creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty range, Inspired Perfume and the H.I.P Beauty range; and a highly respected mentor for make-up artists and small business owners.
Over the past 20 years, Tara has been dedicated to realizing her vision of building a globally respected beauty company of African origin. She is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the cosmetics industry in Nigeria and an inspiration for the rest of Africa. Besides building her brand, Tara is also involved in helping and mentoring others in her field, as she empowers tens of thousands of beauty entrepreneurs through the “Tara Beauty Entrepreneur” initiative.
She continues to be a thought leader and major influencer through several in the classroom and online courses that focus on sharing her 20+ year experience with other budding entrepreneurs. As a game-changer in Nigerian business, Tara has served as a powerful role model for women in business and worked as an advocate for creating awareness of the importance of building businesses that positively impact society. She’s a huge advocate of impact entrepreneurship and is considered the poster girl for female entrepreneurship in West Africa.
Oke Maduewesi – Founder of Zaron Cosmetics – Nigeria
Have you ever wondered who the name behind Africa’s leading cosmetics brand for the woman of colour (WOC) was?
Oke Maduewesi is the CEO of the Zaron group of companies, comprising of Zaron International Limited, Zaron Cosmetics Limited and Skin By Zaron, who are manufacturers, distributors and marketers of beauty care products under the Zaron brand. She holds a degree in Economics, from Edo State University, Ekpoma and a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.
She started her career in one of the most respected banks in Nigeria and worked her way up to the position of Senior (Branch) Manager. Afterwhich she quit her paid job and decided to get more managerial and leadership skills, so she enrolled at Leeds Business School. Her studies sparked her entrepreneurial spirit, as did her self-motivation and work ethic. Zaron, a cosmetics company for dark-skinned women, especially Nigerian women, was founded by her in 2011.
Zaron Cosmetics is a brand dedicated to the enhancement of the wellbeing and quality of lives of all people through the development, marketing, distribution and sale of quality lifestyle products. Zaron Cosmetics products are manufactured to international standards and customized to different environmental conditions and for people of colour.
Oke Maduewesi’s rise to the top of Nigeria’s beauty industry exemplifies the dedication, hard work, and creativity that is fueling the fashion industry’s development. Her brand continues to inspire and motivate young beauty entrepreneurs all over the world.
Kerryne Krause Neufeldt – Founder of Eye Slices – South Africa
Entrepreneurs are famous for coming up with innovative life-changing ideas and products. Kerryne Krause Neufeldt, a South African beauty entrepreneur is the brain behind the world-renowned eye care beauty product eyeSlices®.
Build strong foundations, dot as many of your i’s and cross your t’s, always keeping the end goal in mind. Do everything from the start as if you were that global corporation, meaning with excellence, high standards, good corporate governance and integrity! Then keep walking and never give up!Kerryne Krause Neufeldt to young entrepreneurs looking to start up.
Have you ever had to endure having tired puffy eyes ? or had to deal with dark circles and eye bags? I recommend getting yourself eye slices. When it comes to the eyeSlices® brand, I can only claim that beauty and wellness meet technology. EyeSlices®eyeslices.com is a global first in cryogel technology (the only stable water-based hydrogel globally) – a dermal delivery system that slowly releases active ingredients and moisture into the skin. These cooling and soothing eye treatment pads target puffiness, dark circles, tiredness, redness & wrinkles within minutes and are re-usable.
Suzie Wokabi – Founder of Suzie Beauty Ltd – Kenya
Suzie Beauty is Kenya’s first make-up brand. They create and sell products, do make-up artistry services, as well as training professional make-up artists. The beauty and brain behind this world-class brand is none other than Suzie Wokabi.
The story behind this trailblazer is one of a true entrepreneur with a dream to fill the huge gap in the retail cosmetics industry. Soon after graduating from University in the U.S, she threw herself right into the fashion industry. She was trained by MAC Cosmetics and completed an intensive Media Make-up certificate course at the Award Studio Make-up School in Los Angeles. She worked in New York within the fashion and beauty industries from 2001 until 2007, when She returned to her hometown of Nairobi, Kenya and the dream was born.
“Put a dark-skinned woman and the African sun together, throw in some grossly overpriced, often counterfeit make-up brands into the equation and what do you get a recipe for disaster! Multiply that and you have a population of fashion police’s most wanted, not to mention a host of unsightly skin reactions.This was the inspiration that led me to pursue my passion and create my authentic, affordable, high-quality African make-up brand, Suzie Beauty
Suzie will continue to be an inspiration to young beauty entrepreneurs as she advises that they MUST be very passionate in whatever they are trying to start. It must be a field they love entirely and that they know something about. Also, patience, perseverance and rolling with the punches are a must.
Rahama Wright – Founder of Shea Yeleen – Ghana
Rahama Wright, a first-generation Ghanaian American, first learned about shea butter production while she was an intern at the U.S. embassy in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 2002. She joined the Peace Corps in Mali later that year, where she supported the creation of the first shea butter cooperative in the village of Dio.
Her experiences led her to some key facts such as “women could not take basic steps to improve their families’ health and nutrition because they lack independent income” and “women in Mali and more than a dozen African countries are key players in the production of shea butter — and that shea butter is a cosmetic hit in developed countries. Wright used these facts to found Shea Yaleen in 2005, a cooperative that works with women in Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
Wright dedicated herself to making the hidden women behind shea butter production accessible to the world. With persistence and constant diligence, she has expanded her company—which initially began as a non-profit—with Shea Yeleen soaps, lip balms, and body butters now available in over 40 Whole Food stores in the United States