MEET 24-YEAR-OLD OLOLADE KOLEOSHO FROM IBADAN WHO IS RULING THE NIGERIAN BEAUTY INDUSTRY
With a booming business and strong social media presence, it is fascinating to know that 24-year-old Koleosho Ariat Ololade popularly known by her brand name ML_Pro emits so much humility and grace that you definitely cannot ignore.
Based in Ibadan and steadily dominating the beauty industry in Nigeria, Ololade an orphan, is a self-taught makeup artist and a graduate of Philosophy from the University of Ibadan who recently completed her National Youth Service Corps.
Yes, I’m a self-taught makeup artist. Thanks to YouTube and that’s basically by watching videos and reading one or two tips which has helped me in several areas of my makeup journey. Most importantly, I had to keep updating what I have in my head, learning doesn’t stop. You learn every day, I ensure I don’t go a day without learning a new thing or two. I then add and subtract from the basic knowledge I have about makeup already.
Her story is one I would describe as God stirring you towards a purposeful direction without you realising; for Ololade, she learnt makeup as a joke during her first year in the University which she never planned to take up as a business path, until the entrepreneurial spirit in her made it into a viable venture.
Ololade describes herself as a very expressive individual who is shy but keen about saving and doesn’t forget to point out that surviving in the beauty industry has not been all rosy especially starting while in school which meant juggling between school work and meeting up with clients.
In all this process, Ololade doesn’t fail to show her human side as she acknowledges that she ended up disappointing some of her clients due to the fact that she was running a one-man business with no teammate.
Even with all the hassle at the initial stage of her business, there was no doubt that she was surrounded by God’s unending grace as she received her breakthrough even while in school. It came as a joke to Ololade when she was contacted to do popular Nigerian actress Toyin Abraham’s makeup; not ending there, she became the official makeup artist for the wives of Alaafin of Oyo ever since then, her social media presence, traffic and demand in the industry has skyrocketed.
Wondering how she has managed to thrive in the makeup business despite being based in Ibadan which is known for having a very affordable standard of living? Ololade reminds us how huge, supportive and encouraging the market is over there and points to the fact she has managed to change the underpricing narrative in her own little way by making sure every payment by a client is worth every look.
Ibadan market is favourable for me because I built a healthy fan base from scratch and I’ve made myself affordable to serious customers. Also, Ibadan is very big and quite populated hence I ensure to improve by the day to serve them better and give them reasons to pay for our services without questioning and choose us continuously.
So far, she sees the market over there as favourable, diverse in opportunities and has encouraged other entrepreneurs to make good use of every opportunity found. Without disputing the fact that the invention of social media has helped her reach a larger audience, Ololade agrees that this has served as a major source for locating clients and vice versa.
The love and support in Ibadan is encouraging and that’s because I started off with taking advantage of the University which I believe is a large market, then penetrate into the hearts of Ibadan people and not settle for less . The undercharging culture is what makes some entrepreneurs leave Ibadan but I changed the perception for some of them. Also, social media has helped me locate different people from different parts of the world.
With all the razzmatazz surrounding various women movements like #girlpower, #womenstandingtogether etc one thing that struck me most about her response to my questions was when she expressed a major challenge she faces. It is surprising to discover that Ololade still battles with unhealthy competition amongst some of her colleagues who have resorted to speaking ill of her to clients and as such, made her very picky as regarding her circle of friends.
In all, there is one thing we cannot rule out which is the fact that Ololade is destined to succeed; she was recently made a brand ambassador for a transport company in Ibadan, Oyo state and was chosen to represent young entrepreneurs in the beauty industry at a conference.
Not forgetting her entrepreneurial spirit and zeal, Ololade believes in having multiple streams of income which pushed her to start her own hair care line business alongside running a delivery and pickup service operating in Lagos and Ibadan.
Ololade who is an orphan is also dedicated to impacting the lives of orphans in the best positive way.
As an orphan I go to a specific orphanage to spend time and show love to the kids with gifts yearly, from July 2018 I and my team will be meeting with them once every month to engage them in activities, build friendship and prepare them for the future and of course meet their necessary needs. I don’t think being an orphan is enough to give up and let go but to get together and accept that’s how God wants it and prove yourself worthy of living independently, responsibly with 100% trust in God only.