Make-up is an important facet women can't do without, and when it comes to big days, they are more like trademarks. Besides making a woman look elegant, it helps to boost self confidence and have people appreciate her God-given beauty. And, one such make- up artist and wedding planner who has helped thousands of women celebrate their big days in style, is none other than Nafue Nyange. Woman Coordinator MARIAM SAID talks to the beauty icon as follows:
Question : May you give us a brief background of yourself?
Answer: My name is Nafue Nyange, I am the third born and the youngest girl in a family of four children (three girls and daughters and a son) born to Mr Charles Nyange (my father) and Hon Anne Kilango Malecela (my mother).
I was born and raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I attended Arusha Primary School for my primary education (1989 to 1995), I then went to Jangwani Secondary School in Dar es Salaam for my O level education (1996 to 1999), before joining Kilakala Secondary School for Aí levels (2000-2002). After completing my A levels I went to the United Kingdom for a Law degree, at the University of Buckingham.I enrolled in 2003, I graduated in 2006 with a bachelor of Law degree, LLB (Hons).
Q: Your clients call you Glammadam, why?
A: Well, the name was given to me by a Nigerian friend. Funny enough the friend is actually a man. When he started calling me that I thought ìwow how creative is this man but I didnít share it with my clients or even the blog readers. Itís not an easy nickname to carry around for me as I am not always 'glammed up'. Eventually my other friends and family learned about the name and started using it. So I gave in to the idea of accepting it as my nickname in this line of work. I love it. My readers and clients use it now, I really like it.
Q: When exactly did you start the business and how did you start?
A: I started Glambox in June, 2010. Throughout my primary and secondary education I studied art i.e painting, sketching, shading etc. So I am not a self-taught make-up artist, credit is all to my art teachers throughout my education in different levels and schools.
As an artist, makeup had a special place in my heart. So I always asked my friends and sisters to let me do their make up when they had special occasions, or when we were going out, fortunately they trusted me,. It was always an honor and a lot of fun. However I never had any luck with them for their big day i.e wedding day (she laughs).
One day a friend of a friend was getting married, I asked her if she could let me do her make-up on the wedding day, she said, "Yes, we could have a trial" unfortunately I didn't have any make up kit, so I couldn't do it.
Having lost that opportunity it came to my mind perhaps I could get the tools needed and start a bridal make up business. That was the moment Glambox was imprinted in my mind, besides I believed it was never too late or early to start a business; when God paves a way for you to do something, you donít ask questions, you gladly take it and pray for the best.
Q: What inspired/influenced you to start or engage in this business?
A: My main inspiration has been my mother. Before starting a career in politics my mother had a bridal center at our house,I believe it was the first of its kind in Tanzania, she called it Ninna Bridal Center she provided everything a bride could ask for; from wedding dresses to makeup and hair, as well as bouquets. Funny enough,
I run Glambox in the same house and I guess itís filled with blessings from all the beautiful brides who were attended to at Ninna and my motherís hard work.So I grew up in the wedding industry, being arty and creative; my mother always woke me up at 6 every Saturday morning to work at Ninna. I had to do the bouquets, help with make-up and hairstyling, give tips etc. I was very young, an innocent teenager. I always thought to myself "why is mother being so hard and mean to me" I thought she didnít love us enough (me and my two sisters) for putting us through that, little did I know it will pay in the end. I am forever grateful to her.
In May, 2010, I was blessed with a beautiful child. Before that I was working at Rex Attorneys under a number of very good and successful lawyers, among them Dr. Eve Sinare. As a mother of two and a fellow woman she always had/has very good advice. She told me "Nafue the first year of your childís life is the most important, it flies by so quickly and not one minute of it will ever come back. If you can; Don't rush back to practice, take the first year off and raise your child".
To be honest, that ís the best motherly advice I have ever received. I ended up taking two instead (she laughs). In those two years I freelanced as a lawyer, but mainly concentrated on raising my child and building Glambox to what it is now.
Q: Can you tell us about the capital you had when starting the business and the current investment?
A: Glambox started very small, one employee; me. I travelled on a non-business trip, and bought most of the tools I needed to start the business at home. I don't recall exactly how much I needed and used as a capital when starting but I'd say between 3500 to 5000 US dollars was all I needed to buy brushes, makeup, hairstyling tools etc.
Q: Have you ever acquired a loan from any financial institution, if yes what
A: I have never acquired a loan from any financial institution, I had considered it a number of times, however I would not take a loan because of interest and unfortunately most banks charge very high interests.
Q: How do you get customers?
A: Having started small, I didn't have a big budget for marketing. People learn about us from a few posters we had in different places, and a facebook page. However, most of it was by word of mouth. One bride will tell another bride, or a brides picture or look will attract another bride as the old saying goes "seeing is believing" so they would exchange numbers and just like that Glambox was becoming more popular among brides and non-brides in Dar es Salaam.
In addition to that a while before I started Glambox I met Shamimu of 8020fashions, I believe she is the most famous female blogger in Tanzania and East Africa as a whole, with business as the main content of the blog along with fashion and other fun things. As much as she was only an acquaintance then, she was very supportive in marketing Glambox. I'd take a few pictures of my brides and send to her, then she would have them on her blog, slowly Glambox kept growing, I am grateful to her for her support.
Then finally on the 17th of January 2012 I created a blog by the name glamboxweddings.blogspot.com and I started blogging about weddings; brides being the main content of the blog. That was, and remains the number one marketing tool for Glambox to-date as readers and viewers get to see and learn at first-hand who we are and what we can do.
Q: What are the challenges you encounter in this business?
A: Like any other business I face challenges in the market. I believe there is nothing worth doing in this world that is easy, if there was then everybody would have done it. When I started Glambox, I wanted to give Tanzanian brides something different. A bride is meant to be flawless, effortlessly beautiful and timeless.
A bride is make-up and complete look is expected to be just as beautiful and impressive to the eye ten, twenty years later as it was on her wedding day. I always tell my brides your grandchildren will see your wedding photos, the memories last a lifetime, so I try to advise them to be elegant, simple and classic on their wedding day simplicity is Key.
For Christian brides we usually advise a clean and fresh look. So I always tell them as we both know church is a sacred place God is house of worship one is not expected to have too much make-up or a dress from one end of the world to the other. Every woman created on earth is beautiful, make up is meant to accentuate that beauty not to take it away from you and make you look different or like you are wearing a mask.
This is where I face challenges and criticism; some people tend to think my make-up is so simple they believe make-up is meant to change your look. Being in the industry long enough I wouldn't have any other way. Make up is to accentuate, not to change. The transformation must preserve your beauty, and not otherwise.
From the earliest ages; custom has decided that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of purity, and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one. When a bride wears that white dress (or other shades of white as modern trends allow), she is supposed to look like herself with decent and natural accents to her God-given beauty.
For Muslim brides the make-up is a whole lot different to that of Christian brides. As Islam is highly influenced by Arab culture, a Muslim bride is make-up can either be simple i.e. natural looking depending on what a bride wants; or commonly that of Arabic heritance. Which means it is more make-up i.e. thick black eyeliner, a bit of shimmer and/or glitter, colorful patterns etc.
For a make-up artists it is a lot of work, and also a lot of fun as well as you can just paint away, the difficult part for this kind of make-up is to be able to preserve the bride is beauty.It is quite essential to accentuate her beauty with different tricks this time around, and still preserve her beauty not make her look like she is wearing a mask, I believe masks are for masquerade balls and parties not for a bride, she might not be wearing white but she is still as pure and of innocence as a bride in white.
Q: What is the trend of competition in the business?
A: There is a lot of competition in this industry. It is certainly not a ëone-man showí, which is very constructive as it motivates me to do better, and stand out. The important thing in any sort of business competition is for all competitors to be original, to do your best, to do it with passion or not at all, and leave the rest to the audience. It ís a tough industry so itís not for the faint hearted and certainly not for copy-cats itís highly important to be original, passionate and to give it your all.
Q: Any financial and moral support from the family, husband and relatives?
A: I thank God I have been blessed with friends and family who are supportive to me and my business. No one can do anything worth doing alone, not even the most outstanding legends of this world in this line of work and beyond. Friends have been great, my friends and sisters are honest to me so they are my leading critics and motivators when it comes to Glambox. My most difficult clientís to-date remains to be my eldest sister, and let me tell you this; she is not giving me a break anytime soon. I love her for this; I pray she overlooks this part of the article when she reads it or I am in trouble. I highly doubt it though (she laughs).
My mother on the other hand has been supportive in her own tough way, they don't call her iron lady for nothing, and she is as tough as they can be. I still have moments when I need her to say or do something regarding my business, as it has been a constant support system in my life for the past two years.
I get butterflies, nervous and tense at times, then she comes around and supports me, but still in her own tough way. I must admit it builds my character positively every day; she wants us to be as independent and as strong as possible. It is not easy at all being raised by a woman like my mother, the shoes are too big to fit, in my books she is a world class achiever her life story is amazing. Ann Landers once said it is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.
Q: Is this business for individual or you are in a group, if group how many people are involved?
A: Glambox is a team, I am not the only employee anymore as the business has grown and the demand for our services is high. I have an assistant make-up artist whom I trained, having seen the passion she had for make-up and hair. One person for manicure and pedicure, one general assistant i.e. she assists with other things apart from make-up and hairstyling, and one business manager.
They are all stars; I am blessed to have them in my life and business I couldn't have gotten where I am today without them. We work together wonderfully, and leave the rest to God. He is the ultimate team leader; there is no way around it without him.
Q: Any good or sad moment in your life
A: In life it ís very important to be happy and content with yourself before being with anyone or doing anything that makes sense. I am mostly happy when I am at peace with my family and friends, because they mean a lot to me. I don't have a lot of friends and I wouldnít have it any different, the fewer the better I believe. I have a heart, and fortunately or at times unfortunately beyond my control it loves hard, that being said my saddest moments must be when parting with anyone or anything close to my heart.
Q: Anything else you would want your customers to know?
A: To my customers and Glambox fans, I say thank you I am forever grateful for your support, I wish and pray to the Almighty that every single one of you reads this and consider it a personal "Thank you note. I thank you so very much for your love and support, most of you demand more than I currently offer as you have trust in me. I pray for your patience, and Insha'allah Glambox will cater to all or most of your needs.
To my future brides, you are Gods ultimate creation; WOMAN. Each one of you is a unique, master-piece of its own kind. You are beautiful, let no one tell you otherwise, and on your wedding day, just that one special day you are royal, a princess to your very own destiny. So let it be about you, not anyone else.
This day is not about your mother, not about your in-laws and certainly not about the audience. Take advice, and respect your family boundaries but at the end of it all, do and wear what you feel most beautiful in, for it is your day, you deserve to be the happiest. As for your groom, well he is taking you off the market, make sure he gives you the best of what he can offer, and it should be the best nothing less. As a woman you are special, he must make you feel that every single day prior, on the wedding day and after. Settling should not be an option.
To other young women who have dreams of starting a business or anything of a sort; well you are women, truth be told there is nothing you cannot do. Women fight wars, we build nations, rule countries and kingdoms, raise boys to men single handedly, teach, paint, sing, build etc, the list is endless to what you can do.
What is most important is to listen to your heart, to own up and learn from your mistakes as they build your character without forgetting that people do not only inspire you, they can also drain you of your energy and your faith so pick them wisely.Do what you are mostly passionate about, donít do or start a business because itís a trend, or because the next person is doing it, or simply because you have a capital; passion surpasses and succeeds it all.
Work for a cause not for applause before anyone else it is actually about you. Live your life to express not to impress, be original, don't strive to make your presence noticed; just make your absence felt. Whatever you want to do, do it within your means, a baby crawls before walking then runs; it is not a race it is a process. You are a woman; there is nothing you cannot do.