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By: Susan Orakwe

The cosmetics sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow over the next two years.  Overall, the African beauty and personal care market was estimated at €6.93 billion in 2012 and it currently increases between 8% and 10% per year against a global market growth rate of close to 4%. It is expected to will come up to €12 billion in 2018 when the continent’s total population, the fastest growing in the world, will reach 1.2 billion inhabitants. Although growth in the sector is global, Sub-Saharan Africa is marked by significant disparities between the countries in the region and therefore cannot be approached as a single market.

Big Up for make-up culture

The largest market in the Sub-Saharan region, South Africa, represented €3 billion in revenue in 2012. The majority of sales in the country are made within structured distribution channels. By comparison, in other countries such as Kenya, only 15% of beauty and personal care products are sold in supermarkets. In Nigeria, the beauty and personal care market was estimated at €2.5 billion in 2017  making Nigeria the sector’s rising star in Sub-Saharan Africa. Products for hair and body care are predominant on the beauty market in Sub-Saharan Africa, where face products and make-up remain marginal but have strong  potential. The beauty  market is also divided by a demand for both local and international products. African consumers typically expect high quality products that are both reliable and affordable. Furthermore, consumers often alternate between local brands and international ones depending on local life-styles, customs and purchasing power.

The experience of beauty, often involves an interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature which could lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well- being. Beauty is been defined, described and portrayed through pictures and concepts penetrating our minds. As women, our body are simply shells  that allow us to radiate our experiences and accomplishments. In Nigeria, there is a woman who is an epitome of intellect and trailblazer in the beauty industry. She is the ebony and beautiful Tara Fela-Durotoye. Tara is a Nigerian, a lawyer and also a Top Africa’s leading beauty and makeup entrepreneur. At the age of 20, she started House of Tara in her living room as an undergraduate in the year 1998. In 1999 she opened the country’s leading beauty academy. Today she has over 3000 representatives across Nigeria.

Tara with her kids

In 2013, Tara was nominated as a Young Global Leader by World Economic forum. She is one of the Forbe’s 20 Young Power African Women. Tara Fela-Durotoye 10 years ago, initiated a revolution which echoed across Nigeria, creating a powerful corporate brand, a range of interesting makeup and skincare lines aimed at women of color and setting up Nigeria’s first makeup school. She established an international standard makeup studio. Currently, she is the founder and CEO of House of Tara International, the creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty range, inspired perfume and H.I.P Beauty range. She is a power house in the cosmetics industry in Nigeria and across Africa.

Tara with her husband, Fela , Photo Source:

Tara’s early business journey was inspired by an advertiser who spoke to her about being business conscious whilst she was in secondary school. She was a law student at Lagos state University when she started with 15,000.00(fifteen thousand naira). She was later trained as a makeup artist Charles Fox. According to Tara, her early interest in Makeup and fashion was stimulated by her step- mother. One of the challenges Tara faced in her early entrepreneurial journey was the issue of raising funds . The challenge was that of attracting talents and retaining them. Tara’s success story has been an inspiration to many people. Today, over 1500 students have graduated from her  makeup school so far,

Tara posing with hard-earned trophies. Photo Source:

Some have started their own business, and some have become beauty bloggers. A number of her graduate  have preceded to work for international cosmetics brands. Tara has about 80 fulltime employees and over 3000 independent sales representatives across the country. Tara Fela-Durotoye is a true African brand builder that has not only changed the face of an entire industry sector in her country but is also empowering and training new generation of young    women entrepreneurs to follow her footsteps and continue her legacy. She is an inspiration to all those African women entrepreneurs who have a vision for their own business. Tara is a wonderful example of a lioness in Africa.

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