Did you catch the passionate Instagram-live session with Tara Durotoye?

Tara Fela-Durotoye is the current CEO of House of Tara International. She is known for pioneering the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria. Tara launched the indigenous House of Tara product line, Orekelewa, and the country’s first makeup school in 2005 which has now graduated over 1,500 students to go on and start their own businesses. Through Tara’s remarkable efforts, House of Tara has become a national brand with 23 branches, over 10, 000 beauty representatives and over 100 employees in most major cities across Nigeria and distribution channels in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and a plan to expand to other cities in Africa, Europe and North America.

Just as you are excited about hearing from Tara, so was I. She recently started her online course, and took to Instagram to share a sneak-peek into this course. Well, this turned out to be not only a sneak-peak, but an educational conversation on structuring a business, This is a subject we all know the beautypreneur to be passionate about. Here is what she emphasized on:


Tara Durotoye sharing with some African entrepreneurs about building a culture of leadership using House of Tara as case-study

Tara Durotoye’s experience at Exonn Mobil has been a game changer for her in business development. Tara recalls picking up on the core value of ‘safety’ while visiting Exonn Mobil in USA.
“There was always something about safety on the toilet door, on the foot mat…when somebody puts on a screen, it was on the screen-saver. And so when I asked the people at Exonn Mobil about it, they said; this is their value as an organization, that they had a lot of talk to reiterate their values. So, I understood the importance of creating values that are tied to the business that you do. It didn’t matter if I was a makeup business or a service business”.

She shows us the ‘House of Tara’ Fun Book which documents the company’s organizational processes. “The House of Tara Fun book is a hundred-page document that says; how we attend to customers, our appropriate dressing…for us at House of Tara, with a smile on our face we say, ‘welcome to House of Tara’”.

Even though these were things they had practiced, she had to document it. “The only way you can scale is if you document processes. The more I started focusing on the steps we are putting in place, it made me less afraid for the future. Knowing that, even when I am not in Uyo, they will do what they are trained to do. Does your staff know the guidelines? If not, why are you expecting so much from them?”

She likens processes to how recipes are standard procedure, and said it leads to businesses outliving their founders.  And also, so many years later she now finds that, “I would have been less impatient with people, if I had processes.”

Another main thing, she says is treating a business as a separate entity. “Many companies don’t outlive founders because they don’t separate money that is for them and money that is for sustaining the business. I had to put myself on a salary, so it defines what I can afford. Many times, your company starts making millions and you think it is your own. It is important to separate the finance of your company from yours”.



Tara Durotoye checking up on her team at a movie set in Abuja

When Tara Durotoye was starting out in business, she found that she was going to need ‘a mindset shift’ and ‘change in language’. “It is not ‘my company’ but ‘our company’.” A sign that a strong people element was at the core of sustaining an organization. “You need to understand the role everyone played in the place. As entrepreneurs we may have an entitlement mindset; that the people who work for us are there to slave for us. Unfortunately, we are all colleagues collaborating… sharing one vision”.

She talks about businesses often downplaying on the impact of self-serving leadership, “I am looking forward to seeing more businesses that outlive their founders, because they are building businesses that give value to not just the founder but to the people.”

She says that dealing with people according to engagements and set down rules further defines a structure. “You can’t just sack people. That is why people don’t want to work for small businesses. You need to have graded penalties. What does someone do to deserve a certain punishment, as opposed to depending on the mood of the Founder or CEO.”

She notes that, the value that you get from the people who work with you appreciates only when you develop a relationship with them. “As Founder, people don’t care about what you care about until you show that you care about what they care about. When you want to have the heart of people, they have to know that you have them in your heart first.”

Apparently, developing a great people experience makes the work a breeze. “At the end of the day it’s about ‘the people’. We call our human resource; ‘the people experience team’. We say it’s a ‘human organization’ about the humans in our organization. Humans have a spirit, have a soul, and live in a body. You can’t be a manager and not care about your team member as a whole”.

Also knowing that people like to own a part of the vision, and not feel micro-managed, and that’s when they are most productive. “People want to feel like they are part of something. People want to have autonomy, and know that their voices are heard.”

Tara shows she believes, and invests in her team members, who may in turn become pillars of the organization. “My focus is not on Judas. It is about my eleven. That is how we have kept some of our makeup artists”.