The cosmetics industry has become diversified and increasingly competitive with different brands of make-up entering the market every year. Each brand offers a new feature in enhancing beauty in different ways.
Nigerian-born, Uche Enweugwu is a young African entrepreneur who is launching her new cosmetics line after being in the makeup industry for a few years.
She began her makeup career in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada and is now looking to expand her brand/expertise worldwide. Initially, she started out by launching her own YouTube platform – MakeupbySwift and is now launching her own cosmetic brand – CUE Cosmetics.
Her experience in the industry has given her an inside look into the process of launching her own cobrand. She spoke with SLA contributor Esther Manuala Shem, and gave her some insight on her progress thus far.
When did you first discover your love/passion for Makeup artistry?
It all started when I was 17. At the time, I struggled with acne and dark spots. I was on a mission to find products that worked for my skin when I stumbled into make-up.
Then I fell in love with how make-up enhanced my beauty and gave me the confidence to face the world. I found joy in doing my make-up and the make-up of others which eventually led to my career in makeup artistry.
Also, I was motivated to improve my craft, so I went to a makeup school where I became a certified makeup artist. It’s been over 5 years and I still feel just as excited and motivated as I was when I first began my career.
What do you enjoy the most about being a Make-Up Artist?
I love being a makeup artist. I find pleasure in enhancing people’s beauty.
I remember my first bride. When I was done with her makeup, she looked at the mirror and started screaming. I couldn’t tell if she was happy or angry. I was nervous and too terrified to ask.
Eventually, I summoned the courage to asked her if she liked or hated it? She looked back at me with teary eyes and said, “I have never looked this good in my entire life”.
That statement resonated with me because that’s exactly why I do makeup. It so that people can look at themselves and be marveled by just how beautiful they can become. I left that day feeling grateful knowing that I wanted to continue making people happy through makeup.
My happiness comes from the fulfillment of making people feel beautiful and happy.
What do you think is the biggest challenge in turning your passion into a career opportunity?
My greatest challenge so far has been the entrepreneurial stride that comes with making my passion a career.
Trying to start and run a small business myself has not been easy but I would not have it any other way. It has been a learning curve and I appreciate every bit of it.
How did you manage to dive into the cosmetic industry and launch your own MakeUp line?
It was a gradual process. I worked in the industry for about 5 years before I decided to start my own cosmetic line.
It took a lot of research and years of identifying gaps in the industry that I felt needed to be filled. After 3 years of research and planning, my dream is finally becoming a reality.
I will be launching my cosmetic line early this year. The first products to launch are the lash series and it launches at the beginning of January.
The beauty of it all was paying my dues by working in the industry before deciding I wanted to create something to contribute to the community.
Tell us about the name of your brand and how you came about it.
The name of my brand is CUE. It is simply my initials put together. The “U” stands for Uche which means intention. Regarding my brand, I like to think of the “U” as standing for Ucheoma, which means beautiful intentions in Igbo.
I wanted something easy to pronounce that also spoke to my passions and intentions for the brand. I want anyone wearing my brand to feel their best and above all be themselves.
What sets your brand apart from others in the industry, in terms of servicing women of color?
As an African woman, I want my brand to capture and include all the nuances of color. Our goal as a brand is to be inclusive and diverse.
I remember working at a beauty retail store and having to watch a lot of disappointed African women leave the store because they couldn’t find their shades.
I would often offer the option of mixing it with other shades to find the perfect match and that itself is not cost effective. It motivated me to want to do better when I start my cosmetic brand, which is my goal.
With more African women starting businesses in the diaspora, do you plan on offering more selection for women color across the board?
Absolutely! We cannot be inclusive and diverse if we don’t provide more options for women of color across the board.
That’s certainly the goal and we intend to achieve it. I’m excited about the products in the making.
What is the long term goal of your makeup line?
The goal of my makeup line is to be inclusive. Nothing would make me happier than to know that I participated in serving a world where women and men come together to have fun and feel beautiful with makeup.
Being able to express themselves while wearing CUE in the beauty community would mean everything to me.
Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.