As social media continues to gain ground in the country, it consequently has had both positive and negative impacts on people depending on use.
While it has unfortunately seen some end up behind bars for misuse, others have had their lives change for the better.
Sauda Abdallah, owner of Topfairy’s ladies salon at Makumbusho is currently the talk of the town in the beauty industry, thanks to social media. The 22-year-old make up artist who has 78,000 followers on Instagram is who she is today because of the internet.
The second year banking and finance student at the Institute of Finance Management, says her journey to stardom started as a hobby and that she had no idea it would later earn her money and fame. Sauda likes looking beautiful so she would not go out without applying make up and to her surprise, people would want to know who did her makeup.
“I used to post my photos on Instagram after applying make up and people would send me messages in my inbox asking to know how much I charged for make up. I used tell them I was not in the business but they used to insist they wanted me to do their makeup. Some used to tell me they had their own make up kits and that they would pay me labour charge,” says Sauda.
When her Instagram followers persisted, Sauda gave in to their demands. She started charging for the service and saved the money she earned from the business. It is this money that she used to buy the tools of trade and started following her customers to their homes whenever they needed her service.
Most sought-after make up artist
Hardwork, dedication and the quality of her work has earned Sauda a big reputation, making her one of the most sought-after make up artists in town.
Her clients include the likes of Hamisa Mobeto, Aunty Ezekiel, Esma Platnumz, Madam Rita, Tunda, Munalove, Shilole, Diamond’s mother, Diana Edward and Zarina Hassan to mention but a few. Judging by the photos on her Instagram page, her work is extraordinary.
Since she was a child, Sauda used to love looking beautiful, a desire that was influenced by her mother and sisters who were so much into cosmetics.
“Applying make up was my hobby and I grew up doing this. There is a time when I used to carry cosmetics to school and I would sometimes get in trouble with the teachers,” she says.
When she learnt how to use social media, her first priority was learning how to apply make up better on YouTube. She would practice what she learnt on YouTube using her sisters’ make up kits before she went to learn the trade from a professional at a fee. Her intention was not to improve her skills for business purposes but for her own benefit.
Sauda used to enjoy it when people told her she looked beautiful whenever she passed. She also liked standing out from the crowd at parties, which is why she had to do whatever it took to improve her skills.
Her make up teacher showed an interest in her after teaching her for a while and started engaging her in her business whenever she had more customers than she could handle. This was a great opportunity for Sauda for apart from giving her the chance to practice, she also earned some money.
“A week after completing training, my teacher called me and asked me to go do one of her client’s make up in Kariakoo. I just did not believe it when I got to Kariakoo and realised that the client was the famous TV personality, Madam Rita. I was a bit scared but then I thought if my madam had confidence in me, then there was no need to be scared. I did a good job on her and Khadija Kopa the famous taarab singer and both were satisfied with my work,” explains Sauda.
Not afraid of competition
This experience gave her confidence that she was qualified for the trade. Today she employs three workers who provide for their families with the income they earn from her business.
Sauda can serve up to 20 customers in a day. She receives such many customers during the graduation season and when everyone seems to be tying the knot especially close to the month of Ramadhan.
Commenting on competition, Sauda says she does not find a threat in anyone for she believes it is the quality of your work that makes clients come to you.
“I don’t fear losing my clients to anyone because customers have reasons why they prefer their service provider to others. It actually makes me happy when competition gets stiff because it means improvement in the quality of services we offer. You have to more creative to survive competition.”
Sauda mentions Maza Sinare, famously known as Maznat, who is a famous make up artist in the country as her role model.
“I grew up looking up to her as my role model and even when I consulted her for guidance, she really encouraged me to follow my dream. Unfortunately, she had not started offering training that time for I would have enrolled immediately,” says Sauda.
Five years from now, Sauda believes she will have made bigger strides in her business given that she will have completed her banking and finance studies. She believes the course she is currently pursuing will help her manage her business better.
“I am currently busy with studies so I do not have enough time to concentrate on my business. I believe I will do much better after I graduate. I decided to further my education so I can run my business better. I have a plan to expand my business when I am done with studies,” she says.
To fellow girls, Sauda advises them to know that there is nothing as satisfying as earning money from one’s sweat.
“It is very gratifying. My advice to girls is that they should not feel ashamed when they decide to do something to make their lives better. They should just go for it. You can not fulfill your dream if you don’t work on it. It is up to you to make your dream come true.”
While some people waste time on social media doing unproductive activities, for Sauda, the platform is her major tool of advertising her work.