Mastering makeup for different ethnic groups -Tolani Aremu, CEO Artistry by Tolani
Tolani Aremu is the head MUA and CEO of Artistry by Tolani. She was born in Nigeria but has spent a significant part of her childhood in the US.
She has a degree in Business Management and Masters Degrees in Business Management (MBA), as well. She worked in corporate America for several years before she decided to turn her passion into a full-time Business. She worked for MAC Cosmetics in the states and attended loads of Masterclasses to further her craft
How did you get your start as a Makeup Artist?
I always say “makeup found me “. I was a tomboy growing up, so makeup was the last thing on my mind, well, until freshman year of university, Lol! A friend of mine decided to use me as a muse one day, and when I saw the results of her makeup application, it piqued my interest. I decided I wanted to learn more, so I started practising. I would look through magazines, watch videos and try to replicate what I saw and perfect my craft.
How was your first proper year as a professional MUA?
My first year was quite a learning curve. I had to learn very quickly especially working for a major cosmetic company like MAC. I had to learn how to do makeup for different skin tones, different skin types and different ethnicities. I also had to master the fact that there were different types of artistry for different kinds of events such as beauty, fashion, TV, bridal etc. so there was a whole lot of learning involved. There still is
What was your first big break?
First Big break was after I relocated and decided to purse Makeup artistry full-time. I decided I enjoyed production mostly and pursued that path intentionally. The production offered me several opportunities to work with different people. In 2016 I worked on the set of the promotional commercial for The Voice Nigeria. I worked with Waje, 2baba, Timi Dakolo, Patoranking and Stephanie Coker. Waje was impressed by my work and asked me to be her Personal MUA. We have been working together ever since. I have also worked with several celebrities, and on highly reputable productions such as Skinny Girl in Transit season, 5 and Rumor has It season 2. I also became the Brand Ambassador for Black Opal Nigeria.
What’s the most challenging part of working in Nigeria?
Sometimes when you’re a creative or when you work in the creative space, some people tend to want to underprice or undervalue your services or your craft, so you find that you have to stand firm on the value you place on your brand. Another challenging part for me would be the ease of accessibility for specific products when you need to refill your kit.
Who was the first significant client you had and how did you land the gig?
It was Simi, and it was through an Ad agency I was working.
At what point did you realise that people thought of you as a celebrity MUA?
Lol, I don’t classify myself as that. I’m everybody’s MUA, but if I had to answer I would say it was when I started working with Waje
What has been the most important principle for you in building a successful business?
It is creating a brand that was driven by integrity, excellent customer service and ensuring professionalism at every step.
What’s the one rule with regards to managing customers in the Nigerian environment no MUA should break?
If you commit to providing a service, you must follow through. Service is everything.
What’s your take on the future of the Nigerian and African Makeup Industry?
Its continually evolving and the possibilities are truly limitless. It’s a great time to be a part of the industry, and it goes beyond the creative element. You can be genuinely original a viable and lucrative business within the industry.
If you had to give one piece of advice to rising MUAs what would it be?
Keep going, keep learning, keep practising and keep evolving (that was more that one lol)
Concept and Styling: Teresa Aligbe
Creative Directing: Nelly Mesik
Photography: Gazmadu Studios
Makeup: @T.alamodebeauty, @RiseandGlamBeauty and @Artistry_ by_Tolani.
Outfit: Oxygen (Tito Madu)