“Makeup for African women or other women of color will always first be about staying true to our beautiful melanin complexions, getting a perfect shade match every time while enhancing all our unique features.” — Osamu Nkengfack, CEO, Beauty Matterz.

Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a beautician in Dubai?  What inspired you to pursue this career path here? : 

After running my bridal beauty business in Nigeria for about 11 years, I felt like I  wanted to expand my business specifically in terms of the kinds of clientele and opportunities I wanted to be exposed to. Having had the opportunity to work  with hundreds of brides over the years, I wanted to do more work in other areas  of the beauty industry asides from bridal, be exposed to working with clients  from other countries, work on international projects like TV and film, magazine  covers etc .

And so I moved to Dubai in 2019 and quickly realized that there was a gap in the  market specifically for makeup for women of color. And I decided to adapt my  business to cater primarily to women of color. 

What are some of the specialized beauty treatments or techniques you  offer that reflect your African heritage? 

How do you blend these with the preferences and trends in Dubai? Makeup for African women or other women of color will always first be about  staying true to our beautiful melanin complexions, getting a perfect shade match  every time while enhancing all our unique features. At BeautyMatters, our  techniques always prioritize an enhanced complexion first and then easily going  from a soft, natural, subtly enhanced glam to an ultra high end sophisticated glam  depending on preference. 

While makeup trends can be different depending on the various ethnicities here  in Dubai, we are always intentional about adapting our techniques to suit the  individual preferences of our clients at BeautyMatters. 

In the beauty industry, trends are constantly evolving. How do vou stay  up-to-date with the latest beauty and skincare trends while maintaining your unique style and perspective? 

To stay updated on beauty trends while maintaining my unique style in the  industry, I prioritise continuous learning by keeping abreast of emerging trends  and techniques, attending beauty-related workshops and trade shows to network  with other beauty pros and learn from experts. Online Communities, beauty  influencers, brands, and skincare enthusiasts on social media platforms have also  helped me see what’s popular and engage in discussions within relevant online  communities. 

Seeking client’s feedback and preferences have helped me customize my services  accordingly to incorporate popular trends that align with my style. Lastly, I remember my unique style is my strength. So, while adopting trends, I  always ensure they align with my brand and personal aesthetic.

Building a loyal client base is crucial in the beauty industry. How do you establish strong relationships with your clients and keep them  coming back? 

I would say that building a loyal client base in the beauty industry requires a  multi-faceted approach. First and foremost, personalization is key. I like to try to  get to know my client’s unique preferences, tailoring my services to suit their  specific needs which in turn, enhances their experience and builds trust. Open and friendly interactions, active listening, and addressing concerns are  some of the other elements that I employ while ensuring that I go above and  beyond to give a great customer service experience. For me, it’s beyond makeup  and more about building lasting relationships. 

What advice would you give to aspiring makeup artists, especially those  from Africa, who are considering pursuing their careers in Dubai? 

First and foremost, having a well-thought-out plan is crucial. This includes  defining a clear vision for your makeup business and setting specific goals. One  effective approach is to niche down by determining the style of makeup you want  to be known for. Specialising in a particular style can help you stand out more  easily. 

Identifying your target market is equally important. Understand the preferences,  and pain points of your ideal customers and tailor your products and services to  meet their needs. 

Excellence should always be a top priority. Invest in your skills, stay updated on industry trends, and use high-quality products. Deliver consistently exceptional  results to your clients to build a strong reputation and customer loyalty.  Consistency is key in this dynamic field. Be ready to put in the work day in and  day out. Building a successful makeup business takes dedication, perseverance,  and the willingness to adapt to changes in a new environment. Lastly, trust God to guide you along the right path. 

Collaboration and networking can be important in any industry. Have you  had the opportunity to collaborate with other beauty professionals in  Dubai or from the African community?  

Yes, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with other beauty professionals  from time to time. In the beauty industry, a large part of our clientele come  through referrals and this has only been possible through networking with other  beauty pros like other makeup artists, hair stylists, nail techs, photographers,  wedding planners etc We also collaborate to create content and thereby expose  our businesses to new audiences

The beauty industry can be highly competitive. How do you differentiate  yourself and your services in such a dynamic market? 

In the highly competitive beauty industry, I differentiate myself and my services  through a combination of quality services and a strong focus on customer  satisfaction. Additionally, I prioritize using high-quality products and tools to  ensure the best results for my clients. Moreover, I emphasise personalized  customer experiences, actively listen to feedback, and adapt to evolving trends  and preferences. This approach has helped us build strong brand loyalty and sets  us apart in the dynamic beauty market. Understanding their needs has helped me  provide a remarkable beauty experience for my clients. Also, by having a clearly  defined makeup style, I believe I’m able to attract ladies who have a similar taste  so clients to come to me knowing exactly what to expect. 

Are there any misconceptions about African beauty practices that you’ve  encountered in Dubai? How do you address these misconceptions? 

To be honest, not that I can think of. I would just say that women of colour in  general absolutely love to have the opportunity to get professional glam at the  slightest opportunity and I love that so much for us. I’ve found that it’s not quite  the same in some other cultures and professional makeup is mostly worn for  really special occasions. So again, it’s really not so much if a misconception but  just something unique and different about us. 

As a female entrepreneur, what have been some of the challenges and  achievements you’ve experienced along the way? 

Being an entrepreneur has brought both challenges and achievements to my  journey. On the challenges side, I wouldn’t say any challenges I’ve had are  gender-related. Re-building my business from the ground up in a whole new  country has been tough but incredibly rewarding. I had to understand my new  target audience’s needs and figure out ways to meet them, develop ways to  market the business and position ourselves in front of a new audience. I would  admit that there have been instances where I’ve felt the need to prove myself  more. However, these challenges have also fueled my determination to succeed. On the flip side, there have been numerous achievements that I’m proud of. I’ve  seen my ideas come to life and witnessed the positive impact they’ve had on our  customers. I’ve had the opportunity to work on projects that I had only  previously dreamed of. My work has graced the pages of publications, been seen  on TV shows and we’re steadily growing in Dubai’s vibrant beauty scene. I’ve  been blessed to have the support of fellow female entrepreneurs and mentors  and we’ve created a community where we can share our experiences, advice, and  encouragement. Ultimately, being a female entrepreneur has taught me  resilience, adaptability, and the importance of perseverance. It’s an ongoing  journey, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come and excited about the opportunities  that lie ahead.

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