Funmilayo Taiwo is arguably leading a long line of beauty and make-up brands in southern Nigeria. As the owner of @fumis_makeup_studio as well as head chef @Fkitchen, she tells us of her journey, and how she differentiates herself in building a successful and sustainable business brand despite the harsh business climate and stiff competition.
Buckle up, sit back, and enjoy this jolly good ride into the life of Funmi Taiwo.
Upon my first visit to the studio, I can boldly say that they pride themselves in excellent service and customer relations.
Funmi sees makeup as a representation/illustration of art. To Funmi, makeup is not just a business venture, it is one venture that allows her to express herself in different ways. Beauty for Funmi goes way beyond applying makeup on faces, she goes as far as understanding the personality of each of her clients, therefore, giving a bespoke experience for every client. This has aided her brands’ (@fumis_makeup_studio) ability to not just gain new clients but also retain the already existing clients.
All her studio artists are well seasoned to meet the needs of every single person that walks through the door either for makeup sessions, bridal consultations, product purchase, or piercing services. Funmi has been able to apply these tactics in service also in her latest venture (@Ftkitchen) where local dishes such as Amala, pounded yam, moi-moi and Ijebu garri are served in the homeliest environment. FT Kitchen was also birthed from her passion for cooking and eating. Seeing people eat good home-cooked meals has always been a delight to her.
Funmi’s inspiration to start up her brands sprung from two major reasons; her need to play an important role in people’s lives, especially that of ladies in terms of beauty, as well as rendering good services to people and getting paid in return for her service. The past 5 years have been one of the best so far for Funmi and she states that her journey in the city of Calabar has been amazing due to the love and support the good people of Calabar have given her so far.
However, starting up in Calabar has been tasking for the young artist but she likes to see it as a beautiful task because of the immense growth and learning process. The challenges with growing and starting up in Calabar for Funmi have been very rewarding so far.
Managing both ventures, Funmi says “has not been a smooth sail as people might assume, but I’m in love with the entire process. The pressure, ups & downs, disappointments, and surprises have been immense. Honestly, I do not know how I would have coped pulling them off with ease, but one fact I would always hold on to in life is that; there is time for everything. When the time comes, give it all you can”.
Like every young growing artist, the major thing that gets Funmi going and working daily despite the difficult times is her phobia for hunger and not being able to pay her bills. Whenever the thought of hunger and bills comes to mind, she becomes highly “gingered” to get on with her day and get to work.
Funmi, who hails from Ogun state, Nigeria, states that her biggest fear with starting up a brand in Calabar was not being able to speak the language and the fact that she did not grow up in the city. However, this fear has proven to be futile at the end of the day.
Her advice to her younger self and young upcoming artists out there would be to “invest more time in your craft and rendering very good service, rather than investing more time in getting a business logo and studio space”. During the journey of building a successful brand, Funmi advises all artists to also gear for experiences such as, clients who talk you down, because those are the real clients that will blow your trumpet in the future. It may all seem like a joke at the beginning but be prepared for a rollercoaster ride.
The world of business is ever-changing and the beauty industry is no different; are you willing to accept these changes and adapt to it whenever it comes? Because the truth is, it is going to come.
On a lighter note, she will choose waffles with a chilled bottle of Fayrouz over pancakes any time any day.
Creative direction: @alexis_ebri