Our Start Up Story - House of Tara - Tara Durotoye
What is the story of House of Tara?
House of Tara started as a bridal make-up service. Then, I used to find out who was getting married and market myself to them hopefully to get the chance to do their make-up. This started in 1997, while I was still in the university. As time went on, it became a registered business name known as Tara Make-Overs, then a limited liability company, later House of Tara. Tara Make-Overs had to evolve into House of Tara because business itself was evolving and presenting opportunities in its wake; corporate jobs started coming, people wanted to learn the art of make-up, so we started a school.
Your entry into the industry brought a sort of revolution. How did you achieve that?
Well, it is the Grace God that has made me to be a trail blazer, and because of that Grace, I began to open different markets in the industry. I made it become prestigious, corporate and as well introduced the concept of branding into the industry. It is from this Grace that the ideas flow. The more the ideas came, the more I executed them, and they just kept coming.
Your Driving Force
My driving force is purpose. Living a purpose driven life is vital in my ability to wake up in the morning and do that which God has put before me. When I am able to achieve that, and the record is broken, then I have a desire to break another record, and another record. So, it is a desire to be purpose driven and to achieve what ever is before me.
Challenges have been numerous, but they make you strong. I have had challenges of having to make people believe in the service at the beginning, followed by the challenge of building a brand whether consciously or unconsciously. Equally, there is the need to stay ahead of competition, so we’ve had to come up with innovations like tying ‘Gele’ for brides because a lot of women can’t tie it. It is not just staying ahead of competition, but jumping far ahead of it and staying on top. When we came up with the make-up school, there was the challenge of building a curriculum and charting a course for the future. Then staff issues; how do you make them believe in the vision of the company so they can become vision bearers? How do you train and engage them in such a way that they are constantly thinking about the vision the way you are thinking? Time goes on, you have new business ventures. How do you raise capital? The challenges are actually numerous, but we are constantly evolving ways of remaining on top.
It began with Orekelewa…
Orekelewa means ‘beauty of a maiden’ in Yoruba. Like I said earlier, the product line is an empowerment platform to help young ladies to become financially independent. When you think about young ladies, you think about maidens – you think ‘Orekelewa’. I wanted a product that would promote our culture, ethnicity and values. So that when you see it, you will know it is indeed Nigerian. If you buy our products, you will notice that the name of the shades is not what you find in Europe or America. The names of our shades are drawn from Nigerian languages, not only do you have the word; you also have a short note behind it talking about the origin of the word. What we are trying to do is promote and propagate our culture even beyond the shores of this country to as many locations as the product gets to.
This interview was culled out of the Tsh Archive; indeed one of our most inspiring...
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