Q: Tara, what excites you about being the CEO of House of Tara international?
A: wao! There are lots of it; one of it is where we are coming from, I started this business as a bridal make-up artist 13years ago, I use to go from house to house for people to see what we can do, and see our products. The exciting thing about it is where we are going, our vision. We want to become a globally respected beauty company. Am excited about my people, the people I work with, they are wonderful, great and loyal people who love the company and have passion for what they do.
Q: Tell me about your global vision.
A: I have someone in the UK who is extremely passionate about starting House of Tara in the UK, I see also a transition starting in Canada, I see something also happening in Kenya, and I see something also happening in Amsterdam. Sometimes these growths don’t happen when you want them to happen but as you grow consistently things begin to take shape. It could be joint venture, franchise or it could be our own company setting up there from scratch. The way we run our services here in Nigeria is the same way we will run it also abroad.
Q: Tell me about your everyday life.
A: Usually I take my children to school in the morning because I love to do school runs. Am an early riser, I wake up 3am every day no matter where I am, I plan my day by that time. I get to the office around 8 – 8.30am because I love to do all my work in the morning. I have meeting with my senior staff and head of each unit. I check my mails to see if I have supplies, if any, I send them. I attend lectures and also give lectures on conferences when invited. I pick up my kids from school in the afternoon; I go home and do the rest of my chores. My husband loves gist so I prepare myself for that [laughs] when he comes home. That’s pretty much how I spend my day.
Q: You sound like your husband is an able assistance.
A: [laughs] yeah! Sometimes I think it’s the age difference, because he is six years older, and that alone makes me submissive, for example, I don’t call him by his name, I call him “brother”, which is very traditional and razz [laughs]. He always asks me, have you done this, have you done that. Sometimes he even tells me what to do concerning the business, that’s the kind of relationship we have.
Q: Let’s go back on the journey, how you grew up and started.
A: By birth am from itsekiri, but now am Ekiti by marriage. I was brought up in a polygamous family by my two step-mothers at different times. I never lived with my mum until I was like twenty. Am grateful to them all. Because I am what I am today because of the upbringing I had.
A: it’s a combination of different things, sometimes people say the reason why I have done well in business is because am Fela’s wife. It’s not really it, don’t you think that it’s because he saw something that’s like him that was why he married me. But a lot of people don’t see it that way. What they will see is that, hmmm! I understand why she has gone so far. Am not saying, that, has not contributed, it’s just that sometimes give credit to who deserves it. Well sometimes I get open doors because am Fela’s wife, it’s actually am advantage. He is one of my greatest mentors because he is a business consultant. And he always says am his best client. [All laughs].
Q: Let’s talk about some other people that have been your role model over the years.
A: There are few women. My mentors are people I have personal relationship with, like, Ibikun Awosika because she is a mother and a wife. And also what she is doing for the kingdom of God. She has a missionary fund where she finances people who want to evangelize. To me that’s amazing. Another lady is Jumoke Nnowo, she is an architect, and also does kingdom work. Nike Ogunlesi, I love her consistency in branding, all her outlets are the same. Betty Irabor, she is also someone I admire for her elegance and her ability to believe in younger people, even though she is much older. I hope to be like her when am that age. Adesuwa Oyenekwe, she’s very simple. Oprah inspires me too.
Q: what does doing business mean to you especially in Nigeria where things are tough?
A: I think first of all, it’s my faith, am doing what I ought to do at this point of life. Whatever you are doing, focus on the great things of the business, in Nigeria. Sometimes it could be over bearing, like the multiple taxes you have to pay, you have to run a generator, provide security, your own water in some places, but it’s all part of the business. You also have to employ people who are great workers and passionate to work.
Q: Tell me something about branding.
A: Branding is an expression of who you are. Your values have to be expressed in your branding. I think every business has to identify and know what their brand is, then express it to the client or customers that will accept it.
Q: what do you think is happening in branding in Nigcperia.
A: I think that we are ready to go places in Nigeria. A lot of people are moving in branding direction. Business owners now do research and travel abroad for information. In ten year’s time I see us going places in branding.
Q: would you say that the challenges we have in Nigeria is an excuse for a young person not to succeed.
A: No its not. Because if you look at people who have succeed then you have no business thinking that you won’t. You should always be like, if other people have done it, then I can do it.
Q: Are you a socialite?
A: hmmm! [Laughs] that’s very controversial. Let me ask you a question, who is a socialite. Lara laughs and says am the one asking the question. Tara [laughs again], okay in my definition, I will say a socialite is someone who has a lot of friends and shops for them. And I have loads of friends from primary school, secondary school and the university. Friends I have met in the cause of my job, and then I have Fela’s friends. Well I think am a sure kind of a person that’s all I have to say.
Q: let’s talk about your kids.
A: my boys are so amazing, let’s not talk about them, but what I like about them is the kind of things they find hilarious. They will always make you laugh at anything.
Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 10years?
A: making the world know Nigeria for something different. For house of Tara to be able to fight against terrorism. Making the world a safe place.
Lara: thank you so much, it was wonderful talking to you.
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