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When we talk about makeup in Nigeria, we cannot but mention the name of the founder of the House of Tara. Tara Fela-Durotoye (born 6 March 1977) is a Nigerian beauty entrepreneur and lawyer. She is a pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria. She launched the first bridal directory in 1999, set up international standard makeup studios, and established the first makeup school in Nigeria. She is the CEO of House of Tara International and creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty range, Inspired Perfume, and the H.I.P Beauty range.

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Early days

Tara’s journey started when an advertiser came to her secondary school to speak about being an entrepreneur. The lecture was very intriguing and inspired her to start her business. Her early days in the industry were not a walk in the park, as the makeup industry, as we know it today, is a far cry from what it was. The industry was almost non-existent, and for its early entrants, there were challenges and doubts about its acceptability, and availability of products, among other challenges.

She started out as a bridal makeup artist, and offered her services to many people. With time, her clientele began to expand, and her business continued to grow. She soon saw the opportunities in the makeup industry and realized that the industry was a promising one.

House of Tara

In 1998, she started the House of Tara in her living room, at the age of 20, as an undergraduate at Lagos State University, with just N15,000. Today, it has grown into a household name in the beauty industry, not only in Nigeria, but also across Africa. One of her products, Beinspired, is Nigeria’s first homegrown fragrance.

In her own words:

“Each time people saw me do this, they complimented my works and the more I did, the more people talked about me and my business to other people, and the more referrals I got.”


She launched Nigeria’s first ever bridal directory in 1999 and in 2004, opened the country’s leading beauty academy. House of  Tara is also credited with launching the country’s first makeup studio, establishing the first makeup school in West Africa, and creating a full makeup product line entirely dedicated to African women.

The TARA House has grown into a franchise with three mainlines: Makeup studio, the makeup school and the TARA productline, which has beauty products and professional makeup kits.

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In 2007, Tara Fela-Durotoye was awarded the Africa SMME Award and the Entrepreneur award in South Africa. In 2013, Forbes listed her as one of the 20 Young Power Women In Africa. In 2020, the magazine, Forbes, listed her among “Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women”.

In 2014, House of Tara had been named by L’Oréal as a strategic distributor for Nigeria of leading international cosmetics brand, Maybelline marking another milestone in its ongoing success story.

As at 2019, her brand, House of Tara, had 270 products, 23 stores, 14 beauty schools, and 10,000 representatives all around Africa.


Despite the apparent opportunities and achievements made by the House of Tara, the brand faces a number of distribution challenges. The beauty companies in the industry typically operate by making their products available to the end-users through retail channels. However, the House of Tara has a limited pool of beauty sales representatives through which they can make their products available to consumers. Thus, this problem affects the availability of the products to the market.

Notwithstanding, the story of the House of Tara describes the revolution from a ‘one-woman show’, initially offering bridal makeup services to a fully-fledged beauty business, with a network of resellers and branded stores throughout the country and internationally. It shows how an indigenous brand became a success story in the country and beyond.



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This article was first published on 13th March 2022


My name is Agbagba Bukola. I write about the business and exciting world of fashion.

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