Mary Kanu is the brain behind the fast growing beauty home Mauchiqueen Beauty Planet. She speaks with MILLICENT AREBUN ONUOHA and CAROLINE KANU on retaining niches and clients in an industry teeming with MUAs and changing the narrative on how people see the job
My early days was not an easy journey, because I learnt the art way back June 2016. I started with tying of gele for my mum and sisters and then ventured into the sale of makeup products, cosmetics and jewellery. I left it partially due to school work load, I thought I couldn’t handle both schooling and working because I was in my third year as of then. By May 2017 I started my brand officially. Mauchiqueen Beauty Planet is a beauty studio which does not only focus on makeup services alone but also deals in salon services, gele tying, sales of beauty products, jewelleries, cosmetics and makeup tutorials.
How do you keep and retain your edge in the blooming MUAs scene in the country?
It is never easy but with the grace of God it has been easy. As started earlier I started by publicizing my work online using Facebook and Instagram. Facebook helped a lot with advertising my product. Most times my clients come from Facebook and Instagram. I maintain my edge by using online means to publicize my products and get more clients. Our marketing scheme is done on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram but majorly on Instagram. On social media, there are 85% of people both male and female into this beauty line and getting my clients to stick owning to the fact that there is competition out there is a Herculean task. Most of the time I beat down prices of my services of product just to keep them. Most clients are makeup artists themselves but still feel the need to have a professional touch. The competition in Lagos is on the very high side and most people feel makeup is an easy job which most people don’t know it is an art that need to be learnt. At Mauchiqueen Beauty Planet, we also combat the competition by keeping abreast of the trend. For instance going to beauty-geared events or conferences, meeting people and learning new trends.
Reception so far
Our reception so far is great. At least, there is an advancement in our skills. We have met people from many places, professionals in makeup industry and learnt how issues are tackled by such professionally. So far so good, there is an advancement in all areas.
My inspiration is all about my love for making myself up naturally while growing up. I love the extra beauty that comes out from it. I became the beauty queen of the home by wanting to make my mum and sisters look beautiful. Also, what inspired me was my lack of knowledge for any other skill. I became my own inspiration, telling myself to build passion into the art as well as develop myself. Inspiring myself made me comfortable now.
I can say our biggest challenge comes from our client – making them stick is an issue because there are other competitors willing to render their services to them at a cheaper rate. Most times, we have no choice than to attend to our client’s needs despite the rate they are willing to pay. In addition, awareness is another challenge we face here. But things would take their place with time.
How do you stay up to date regarding beauty routine?
I stay up to date with constant practising, practice as we know makes one perfect and it should be done continuously. Here, we practise with our spare time online through YouTube videos. I follow top pros on their Instagram pages. I follow them up on their master classes which is mostly held online.
Your favourite part of being a makeup artist.
Being a makeup artist is not all about the money that comes in, it is about being known in the field. My favourite part is being able to bring out the beauty in a client. For us here, every woman is a queen and it all fun for us mostly for being responsible for such transformation.
Where do you see your brand in the next 10 years?
We hope to be known in prominent places and be a household name in the minds of people. We wish to expand internationally in years to come. It not just about makeup artistry, it’s everything about beauty. My major project this year is to expand our knowledge and move into the bigger picture of rendering services in the movie industry.
Advice to emerging makeup artists
Before you choose this line of business, there must be a burning desire, one must have the passion for it. But when one is money conscious or too money minded, it just won’t work. Don’t allow anyone to hold you back with the notion of “everyone is doing it or it’s too competitive” you are not everyone, be you and you won’t regret making your decisions. There would always be challenges because life is not a bed of roses.
What is fashion to you?
Fashion to me is about our lifestyle. It’s the way I express beautiful things in life and my perception towards life. Fashion aids in expressing the way we live, dress and how we would be addressed. Fashion to me means the way I express myself.
My makeup must-haves are my eyeshadows, lashes and lipsticks. I must have them at all times.
Fashion items you would go back home for, if forgotten
My set of makeup brushes are very important. I would rush back home to get them if forgotten because they are the major tools of my trade.
Personal makeup signature?
My personal fashion signature is the nude and smoky look.
Beauty secrets and routine
I go in line with natural skincare products because I believe in nature.