Alexia Horsfall studied law at the University of Lagos and then went on to Law School, Abuja, but not before she took an internship that changed her life, opening up a new world of makeup artistry and entrepreneurship to her. She talks to Connect Nigeria about running her own small business, the value of training, and how passion can change your life.CN: When did you first discover your artistic flair?
I was in my third year in the University and I became very restless. It started with me being very curious about what else was possible for me. I could already see a future in law but it wasn’t enough. I kept asking myself what else I could possibly become. At the end of my third year, I decided to do an internship with any firm who would take an undergraduate with no work experience. I met Tara Fela-Durotoye and she gave me the opportunity to do an internship at her company, House of Tara.
I started out being an administrative assistant. Makeup wasn’t something I had considered or was considering. I was just happy to work and to learn about a world outside of what I had been familiar with. My first internship was enjoyable and I resumed school feeling very happy with my experience but still uninterested in makeup as a career. Unknowingly, I had absorbed a lot of makeup information and in the course of the year, every time a conversation started around me about beauty, I would contribute to it and everyone started to say I had a good knowledge of it. I didn’t take it seriously because I had thought it wasn’t my thing.
At the end of that school year, I went back to a House of Tara to work during the holidays and that was when I stumbled into makeup as my art. The company was growing and needed more hands and I was right there so little by little every day, I’d have some makeup task to do and I got the hang of it and I could do it well so I slowly transitioned from doing administrative work to doing makeup.
CN: Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I became a different person when I discovered makeup. I blossomed. Meeting people, talking about my work, getting the opportunity to do makeup for so many women, it changed me. I used to be very quiet and withdrawn, until this. This made me feel alive, excited, it gave me a sense of purpose. It also made me single-minded. It was something I wanted to do and keep doing, so becoming an entrepreneur just happened naturally.
CN:Did you do a course for this, or you learnt the ropes as you went along?
I understudied Tara Fela-Durotoye when I started out and since then, I have understudied many other makeup artists, locally and internationally. There is a wealth of resources out there for makeup artists, both books and videos. I have an extensive work library. I did a Master Class with Ngozi Oni of Beauty and the Beholder in 2016 and another Master Class with Banke Meshida-Lawalin 2017.
CN: What do you enjoy most about your business?
I like listening to women. I like hearing what they want, how they want to look and then making that vision real for them. My best part is the end when they see themselves after the makeup has been applied. The squeals of delight, the shy smiles, the grateful glances at the mirror and then at me, get me every time.
CN: Competition is stiff in your chosen industry. How do you distinguish yourself?
I have stayed true to my convictions. I don’t want to completely alter a woman’s face to make her unrecognizable. I want her to see herself and for others to see her too when I’m done. She will look like she’s wearing makeup and she will glow but she will not be lost in the makeup. That’s my style and the women who want that as well have found me.
CN: What top entrepreneur would you love to meet, and why?
I would love to meet DeolaSagoe. I like how she is constantly experimenting, reinventing, taking simple concepts and spinning them into gold while also building a company that is relevant in every generation.
CN: What advice do you wish someone had given you as a student?
To be brave and relentless.
CN: If there were any other line of business you could choose, what would it be?
I would want to be surrounded by books and art work. Maybe I’d own a museum/art gallery, curate art, find ways to exhibit new work, bring artists together, organize art festivals.
CN: Which books have really made a difference in the way you do business?War Paint by Lindy Woodhead.
CN:What is your long-term vision for MakeupbyAlexiaHorsfall?
To have our own line of makeup products which are kind to skin and to the environment, for women of African descent.
Phone: 0806 324 4232
Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service.
Email: pinpointcreatives [at] yahoo.com
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