•Founder, BANKE MESHIDA-LAWAL Tells City People
Banke Meshida-Lawal is one of the leading lights in the Make-Up business in Nigeria. She started small, 21 years ago and she has built her makeup business into the big BMPRO brand it is today. From the little business she started with then, Banke has turned it into a fast expanding business, with 4 outlets in Lagos & Abuja. And she is still expanding at the speed of light. Next month will see her officially open her latest branch, located on Glover Road in Ikoyi, she plans to have a big official launch. With that, she would have her outlets in Abuja, Dolphin Estate, Lekki & Glover Road, Ikoyi, all in Lagos.
How has she been able to expand her business rapidly the way she has done. She says its the Grace of God, Passion and Focus and Hard work. Her friendly personality has also helped. She is warm to everybody and all her older customers see her as that little Banke they have always known. That’s why she has been able to keep all her old clients, over the last 20 years.
A professional makeup artist by default, Banke took Fine Art lessons from the age of 8 after showing a keen interest in the arts. She studied English at the University of Lagos and graduated with 2nd class honors in the year 2000. The first Bmpro professional makeup studio was formally opened in 2002 on Rumens Road, in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The makeup line Bmpro (Banke Meshida Professional Makeup) birthed in 2006 with 14 products in the line. It was the first ever Nigerian makeup line of color, a feat she achieved due to the inability of international brands to help create suitable makeup looks designed with the Nigerian culture and its peculiarities as the deciding factor. High pigment, staying power, hypoallergenic, fashion-forward are a few words that describe these amazing products formulated with the Nigerian weather at heart, and manufactured in the united states of America using the highest standards of raw materials available in the cosmetics industry. Bmpro makeup is created to deliver optimum results for the professional and amateur makeup user especially in the Nigerian hot and humid weather, a quality most international makeup brands do not pose.
Today, Bmpro makeup has 65 products in the Nigerian market as well as distributors all over Nigeria, the UK, USA, Ghana and Canada. Its success is based on the acceptance of its quality all over the world. manufacturing has also shifted to turkey- for the new innovations emerging from the Turkish beauty industry is phenomenal, Germany - due to the high level of hypoallergenic products available from that market as well as retaining the manufacturers in the United States of America a creative spirit, she creates looks for the runway (MBGN, miss Nigeria, Tiffany Amber, House of Marie, Odio Mimonet) bridal (over 2000 brides and counting) editorial cover pages and Fashion Magazines (Thisday, Elan, Genevieve, The Sun, City People, Vanguard, Punch, Wow Magazines) and especially the regular woman who wants to look extremely beautiful.
Her flawless signature style is easily recognized. Banke has won many accolades and awards for her contributions to the growth of the makeup industry in Nigeria. Many budding makeup artists look to her for inspiration as well as professional training. Bmpro has a training school which continues to produce top-notch makeup artists in Nigeria. Her mentorship programme is second to none often citing herself as an example of the success possible with hard work, perseverance, passion, and creativity. A few of the many awards she has won include
Female Achiever of the Year 2002 (City People), Makeup Artist of the Year 2005 (City People), Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 (Future Awards), Makeup Brand of the Year 2009 (Eloy Awards), Makeup Artist of the Year (Wedding Planner Magazine), Contributor of the Year (University of Lagos), Makeup Artist of the Year 2011 (Fab Magazine), Best Makeup Artist of the Year 2012 - (the Nigerian Event Awards).
The bridal makeup industry has also blossomed due to her continuous creation of stunning and timeless looking brides. her work is a focal point for Nigerian professional makeup artists who agree that it continues to inspire them to want to create the “Bmpro look’’ for their clients.
Bmpro has its new ultra-modern flagship store at Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, which houses a Spa, Nail Room, Hair Salon, Photography Studio as well as the Makeup Studio. She has another store in Lekki Phase 1 at Plot 4B, Ahmed Tijani Ottun, Off Victoria Arobieke, Off Fola Osibo, Lekki Phase 1. More recently Bmpro has opened 3 more branches in Lagos and Abuja respectively, making the total number of studios to be 4 in number.
She continues to be present personally at her studios, often running a busy schedule as she divides her time between this and attending to clients and brides alike. She believes in the power of her presence to help give clients confidence as their makeup needs are attended to as well as to personally deliver the wealth of experience she has garnered over the years. She is married to Lanre Lawal a very understanding husbanding. She has 2 cute daughters. She enjoys playing the Violin.
Last Tuesday City People Publisher spent quality time with this easy going lady who is regarded as the Queen of Make Up.
How has your business evolved over the last 2 decades or so into what it is today?
We’ve grown big. We have expanded. When we started we had just a few items on our list in terms of cosmetic. As time went on, we had to expand. We started with just 14 items, now we have over 65 items because trends keep changing, and artistry keeps evolving, so it is left to us as artistes controlling the beauty sphere to be able to keep up with trends and provide customers with the current trending materials. So BMPRO has been able to do that very well, by expanding our manufacturing base from Europe, into Turkey and even Asia.
How do you feel when you sit back and you look at what BMPRO has become today?
The journey has been quite a long one. It is 21 years now. And we have come a very long way. We are expanding globally, and the world is in the palm of our hands now. Globally, we have been able to reach international markets and just bring focus into Africa and Nigeria, especially. We’ve gone from being local champions to competing in the global space.
How do you see the competition that the make up industry has witnessed in recent times? Or put differently, how do you see the explosion that the make up industry has witnessed?
When we started there was a handful of make up artistes and we would jostle for jobs. But now with the explosion that we have witnessed in the beauty industry there are over 1,000 make up artistes who are doing excellent work. But we have our market share, and we have continued to serve the people that we serve. I just see it as growth for the industry and development for Nigeria as a whole and I am thankful that we have been able to influence the youth to become successes in their art, in their skill.
So, yes there has been growth in the beauty industry, and we are glad that we are pioneers and we were there at the beginning and we are still at the forefront of things.
Many ladies describe BMPRO as the most-sought-after Makeup brand in the industry. How does that make you feel?
It is because we have been consistent over time and we haven’t compromised that standard. We have also realised that there are people who wouldn’t go lower than what we offer. I am thankful that we have this amazing clientele who continue to patronise us and push us and support us, and we know that we haven’t covered a fraction of the populace. I am happy that people recognise the high quality and high standards of our Make Up. Well, it can be good or otherwise, when people regard you as Premium or Expensive. But again, let me quickly add that we won’t compromise our standards so that we would be able to package our services and just stay in the lane of people who appreciate what we do.