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MOTHERHOOD HAS TAUGHT ME TO BE PRACTICAL – BANKE MESHIDA LAWAL

By NBF News
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Banke and her husband
The marriage of Banke Meshida to her husband is a reflection of the ageless French song, Quelle sera sera, which translates to what will be will be. They dated for nine good years before tying the nuptial knot. It is a union that been blessed with a girl who incidentally has a lovely, stand-out-of-the-crowd name, Iris. In another way too, Banke also stands out of the crowd, running a successful cosmetics company with its own make up line.

It is known that pregnancy affects how a woman's skin looks. So naturally once the baby comes, she wants to quickly regain her excellent looks. In this interview, she talks about her marriage and how she makes women look their best at all times. Excerpts…

Can you tell us how you met your husband?
I met him while I was at the university and have known him for a long time. I was at the car park and he walked towards me with a mutual friend who introduced us. I remember standing in the sun and he came up with a funny line. He said to me, 'why are staying in the sun, don't you know you will get dark? Mind you, I am a dark-skinned person. I responded that I liked the sun, telling him to leave me alone. But we went on talking about the benefits of staying in the sun.

What was the attraction?
It wasn't really love at first sight but I liked him because he spoke well and he made sense. He was easy to talk to, I just found him to be someone I would always want to talk with.

What makes him unique?
I can't pin it down to one thing because he is an embodiment of it all. Then I always wanted him to be around.

What were the things you learnt in your marriage?
It can be easy if you make it but it can be difficult if you blow small things out of proportion. I dated my husband for nine years and we never broke up for once, we just waited for the right time to get married and when it was the right time we tied the knot. So he is more like a friend to me.

You guys dated for nine years. What is your take on long courtship? Is it better off?

No, but if it works for you because everyone has different situations in life that would determine the right time to get married. It is good because if you court for long you will know the nitty gritty of the relationship. I'm not talking about long courtship in long distance relationship where you would just see each other once a year.

What has motherhood taught you?
Motherhood has taught me to be very practicaI. Besides, I like to do things my way.

How have you been able balance your home and your career?

Initially when it was just me and my husband it was fine but now we have a child, there is a home to run. Like I always say if you have a great support system you will be fine. We have not been doing badly because I have a good support system. People around me do what they are supposed to do. I remember when I had my daughter. If I had to travel up north I would have to travel with her and my nanny. Even when I had to do jobs outside the country I would have to go with them. Naturally, this was quite challenging.

You have a make up line. Please tell us more about it.

It is called BM PRO. It started in 2006 and we have over 40 items in the range (from eye shadows to lipstick to blushers). We usually have the latest in the make up technology. Also, as makeup advances everywhere in the world we usually introduce new products to the Nigerian market - just to help women keep up-to-date with the latest makeup products. So we have lip-glosses, three-dimensional glosses and dimensional eye shadows, bronzers, tanning powders. All the latest in make up which are manufactured for us in the United States.

So how has the market been?
It has been good but it can still get better. We have been trying to enlighten our staff, making sure that they are up to date with our products. Moreover, we realize there is a constant need to do advertising campaigns and informational promotions. We are now keeping our customers abreast with the products we have.

What is the competition like with other brands?
Basically, I am a make up artist, and these are the things we use to create great looks for our clients. Well, we use other brands too but we make sure that we use more of our own brand. We also ensure that we use products that we are more comfortable with. Competition is fine and it is nice to see what other brands have but it doesn't really affect what we are doing too.

How did you get into the business?
I started doing makeovers while I was still in the university and of course I met a lot of people and had a lot of acquaintances.

What was your parent's reaction when you went into this line of business?

My parents to some extent are quite liberal and they encouraged us. The only opposition I had was when I had a conversation with my parents and they asked if my grades were not suffering. I reassured them that my schoolwork was not suffering at all because I knew how to balance schoolwork with the makeup engagements. Besides, my work was usually done over the weekend. I didn't fail in school so, I think it helped them get me out of the way because I didn't have to bother them about pocket money.

If you had not gotten into make up, what would you have done?

I wanted to be a diplomat because I wanted an opportunity to live and work abroad. I also wanted to experience other people's culture and lifestyle.

Does everywoman need make up?
Every woman needs make-up; every woman also needs to know how to do quick make up for herself. And occasionally every woman needs a fantastic make up artist. So the answer to that is yes.

There is this school of thought that says that makeup is meant to enhance your looks and not to recreate you, what's your take on that?

I think that came up because a lot of women put heavy 'pancake' on their faces and they masked who they are; and it was an unpleasant sight. You can actually do make-up to look like someone else but in a flattering mood.

For instance, I can do my make-up now on someone that is a plain Jane. When I'm through, she probably won't recognize herself because you would still see a beautiful person. Make-up can be used to recreate the way one looks and totally change it. It can also be used to enhance one's features. But whatever result you are aiming to achieve at the end of the day, attention to details, flawlessness and the use of the right product is what I think would give you a positive result.

How would you know what works for you?
If you are not the type that can take the time to try products and determine that this looks right or this doesn't look right, then you have to go to a make up studio so that a professional can do it for you. Spend time to try out powders, glosses and products generally and when you get the right set that works for you take that home with you. It is a service that every woman needs to take time to do.

Like I said some people can get the right products without even getting any help from someone but the risk to that is buying a whole lot of products you might not need. And good make up doesn't come cheap, although there are some cheap products that might work but at the long run I won't advise you to stick to cheap products.

There are some cheap products like Vaseline, you know you could use that for your lip balm but if you want to do the high tech stuff, like a glossy eye shadow for instance and it would still remain glossy, you can't use Vaseline you need to use a product specified for that purpose. The best thing is to always get advice from a professional.

You deal mostly with women, how have you been able to deal with very difficult customers?

I think number priority should be listening to your customers and trying to create a memory card of your experience with each client so that you can tell their likes and dislikes. With that you will know how best to cope with them.

People management and client service is not an easy task but there are people who will train you in that if you don't have that gift in relating with people. But to be a makeup artist you need to sort out your people management skills. If you can't do it then you get someone that would do it for you. Over the years I have been able to build a good relationship with them. You should be able to know that 'Miss A' can't take it if you are five minutes late so you should be ten minutes earlier. Over time you come to a safe place in dealing with your clients.