•The Esthetician & CEO, Lise Beauty Range Cosmetics
•Shares Her COVID-19 Experience
Eni Lise Balogun is a Make-Up Queen. She is one of the pioneers of the business in Nigeria. She is also big in Skincare. She is very visible in the Beauty business. She is the CEO of Lise Beauty Range Cosmetics. She also owns Lise Beauty Spa. She shuttles between Lagos & New York. She has many customers in both Cities. She was a guest a few days back on our City People TV Instagram Live Chat where she spoke about her successful career and how she coped with COVID-19 a few months back. Below are excerpts.
What have you been up to?
I’d say 2020 has already been counted. I remember I bought a Planner in January and I haven’t done anything on the planner. But what I can tell you is that I’ve been focusing on the brand basically. Because you know a lot of business have been out because of this Covid-19 and it’s been a struggle and a hustle. I won’t lie and I’m not bragging, we are fine. In the Skincare industry, we are fine. This year the sales are going way better than ever before.
Why is that so?
I think people appreciate life more and I think they are taking better care of themselves. I know people that have never taken Vitamins or Supplements before, they’ve started taking it this year. People are at home all day. They are taking two showers. They are applying their cream. They are using their soaps. People are paying more attention because they have more time on their hands. That’s what I’d like to say. There is more time to do those things, pamper yourself even though you know you are not going anywhere outdoors to do anything major. Perfumes and oils are still selling as much as body creams and you are seeing your spouses more often and you want to look sexier and fresh. So people are doing a lot better these days.
How do you see the state of the industry today? Globally and in Nigeria.
Its an industry I don’t regret going into and though I’ve been into it for over 20 years I can literally tell you that I wish I started sooner. But still, 20yrs into it, it’s still not bad at all. It’s getting so big that in a year some many things just drastically changed when it comes to cosmetic formulation, ingredients are coming up by accident, even equipment for Spa.
Now, there are a lot of Spa out there. I remember back then we had Aunty Arin’s spa, (Venivici) we had a couple of spas way before I even started out and they’ve always had their own niche in the industry and it doesn’t end where it starts because we have different equipment being bought. So there are different things developing every time from formulation to upgrades. It’s just gone pretty wide that I don’t think it’s started yet because every day I’m reading, learning and sometimes we think we know it all but we don’t know anything basically because we are still learning.
The beauty sector is wide as we have the weaves, the wigs, products, skincare, organic brands, bleaching, so it’s wide. People have a variety of what they want to do so it keeps making the industry expand into different angles. Some people say they don’t want to bleach, or lightening as we all have different terms for it. It’s a variety. I like taking care of my skin because I like pampering myself, it’s not about what my husband or society likes. And I want other women to follow in that line where they can wake up and be like oh I like what I look like. I’m a beautiful woman even without makeup. So it’s diverse.
Why did you go into it when nobody wasn’t really doing it and it was that popular? What gave you the confidence?
When it comes to the Confidence part, I can’t say I had a lot of confidence but I’ve always loved makeup as it has always been part of me and I still have people who are buying my make up brand because I’ve carved a niche for my brand. Going forward, what I realised is: if you don’t have passion for something you can’t survive. Because some people go into certain businesses because of the money or want to compete with someone. I like doing certain things that I enjoy because I get bored very easily. I’ve been dabbling with makeup since I was like 13/14 because I had bad skin and I always like to conceal while going to school.
I started getting arty because I was good and even my mom started asking me to do her makeup, nail polish. So I already enjoyed doing beauty things like I could already braid hair at 14 and even my dad was surprised because I wasn’t taught. It’s just something that naturally comes first. You enjoy doing it, you don’t have to train that much to discover the talent that you have and I discovered that part of myself even this I went to school for something different, business and investment banking but I still ended up doing this because I enjoyed it more than 9-5 jobs. I would still say it’s the passion that got me into it. When I came to Nigeria at first, there was really nobody doing it then except from Banke and Tara. So I just came in and said there’s no much makeup studios here because I was working in Mac abroad and I was wondering why there was none in Nigeria so I decided to open up my own spa and I did that and it was a big bang. I survived through it. Then going into the skincare business part of it from makeup to skincare. I got tired of make up I won’t lie to you.
How do you juggle between Nigeria and the US?
It has been tough I tell you. I work twice as hard when I’m in Nigeria and I pretty much just slow the rest when in the US. So we basically had to shut down our spa because of Corona and our spa too has shut down in Lagos. And I’m scared to open up our spa section though we still have the makeup part of our business that’s open but the spa services I had to put a hold on. This thing is real and from a personal aspect that this thing is real. A lot of people didn’t know what I was going through while I was in the States. I know what I went through and I’d tell you it’s real.
Share some of it with us…
It is something I don’t want to remember. I got COVID in April and just very close people to me knew I did and at first, I didn’t know that was what it was because it was during allergy season. I used to have allergies and it wasn’t allergy until I couldn’t walk, I started throwing up, my head was like it didn’t belong to me. I felt like my head was going to explode like I had rubber band tied around my head and turning the light was a problem and I called my doctor and he said I shouldn’t come into the hospital that if I did, I’d die faster.
So my family and I isolated and it got really bad and for a month I couldn’t taste anything. I was so strong because I was hiding it from my father and husband but my husband found out some days after but we didn’t tell my father till a while because you know when they are older you don’t want to scare them. But for me, people have been calling saying I need to open the spa. I love money I’m not going to lie now but I don’t want to open the spa and go back to my house after meeting them because I have a husband and children at home. And since COVID likes people with preexisting conditions.
Were you able to identify how you caught it?
We couldn’t identify it but I could tell you it’s probably from Amazon deliveries because I didn’t go out. We take turns in going out and that’s once in three weeks. So the only thing I came in contact with were the deliveries and we try to wipe it down and we actually leave deliveries outside for 24hours before we bring them in but it’s what it is you can never tell. It could be the delivery man or the grown up in the house. So it was a lot of things that I was thinking about but u definitely know I don’t get it in the air. Some reason it was contact with something even though I was extra careful.
How did you figure out what you’d use?
Funny enough, when I started having the fever, when I have allergies I use theraful but at one point I started having nerve issues and u started using ibuprofen. So I stopped taking the ibuprofen and continued with the rail and I started taking a lot of ginger, garlic. My daughter made sure she gave me every 2/4 hours. I didn’t have an appetite for anything but pap. They bought me all kinds of food but I couldn’t take it. It took a while, it took me about 3 weeks to be able to regain my taste bud and appetite back.
All in all, I will just say I’m just blessed. This is the second time that God has just saved me in the past two years. Last year it was a bad accident I had with my family. This year it is Covid-19 but I still scaled through. What’s the worse that could happen? If God says. Yes nobody can take me out. I’m here to stay. All in all, the Industry has been good to me I won’t lie. I might be on the low. It is because I don’t think I need to make noise about what I do. My customers find me. It’s the world of social media. If your work is good people are going to find you regardless of where you are. I just move like that.
It’s like a transgression for me. I’m also into the hair. I have a lot of products all over the world. I won’t lie to you I’m proud of what I do. I’ve trained a lot of people that have left me. I got tired of makeup because the way makeup artists are treated in Nigeria is not the way I was taught. They are not even proud of themselves in Nigeria be. I just felt like the Society was a bit tough when it comes to going for bridals and makeup was doing that. I almost got beat up by a bride’s father. I felt like I wasn’t feeling it anymore, I wasn’t fulfilled but I’m glad I was able to work with 4000 students. I want to thank those guys that tell me that their skin is full and they want to brighten up before their wedding. That’s how I got into the skincare.
From doing the bride’s skin to the mother in law and before you know almost all the bridal train wanted to glow. So that’s how I moved gradually to skincare and I won’t lie to you, makeup wasn’t bringing money in. In my time there was no makeup artist to get a property or land. It was so tasking but you are not seeing the return. Makeup wasn’t brought in that much profit but the passion got me going. But everything is intertwined but we deal with the skin deep.
How has it panned out for you?
It has panned out really well for me I won’t lie to you. I have a lot of clients from Jamaicans to white clients. So it’s just a variety of people that like the brand and it’s been growing ever since. I get calls from all over and it’s been worth it that I’ve been consistent.