How beauty skills have addressed unemployment among young women

Tuesday August 29 2017


At first blush, the beauty industry could be thought to cater only to the glamorous, or perhaps the vain, or may be just those in the spotlight. And it does - along with everyone else! This industry has also been seen to build its success around weddings.

As weddings in Tanzania increase so does the demand for grooming services.

Grooming of brides and grooms in Tanzania includes make-up artists, salons and beauty spas. As both the bride and groom require grooming for their special day.

We took a closer look on makeup artists a profession that has had rapid growth for the past three years. Before, makeup would be included as a salon package but today makeup artists have alienated themselves from salons and established working stations known as makeup studios.

A survey indicates that there are more than 50 makeup artists in Tanzania. This immerging opportunity has helped majority of young women who have decided to capitalise on this fast growing ‘industry’.

We had an interview with Upendo Shuma famously known as Lavie makeup. She is one of the top listing makeup artists in Tanzania, who through her business made it to the Forbes under 30/30 list earlier this year.


She is a graduate from the University of Tumaini, with a bachelor degree in business administration.

She got her skills from watching YouTube tutorials from other makeup artists. Her business started as a part time job.

But she took a bold step in 2013 when she made a decision of leaving a job that paid her over Sh1,000,000 and establish her makeup business as a full time job.

Upendo agrees it wasn’t a slide on a slope but looking back it was worth taking that risk.

“I now have a makeup studio, my own brand of eyelashes and train aspiring makeup artists,” she says.

She became popular after she worked with celebrities like Jokate Mwegelo, Elizabeth Michael and Wema Sepetu.

Most of her work is dependent on weddings. During the high season she tends to a maximum of 15 brides per Saturday while low season 5 brides.
Her service prices range from Sh300,000 to Sh1,500,000 depending on the season.
She believes that the wedding industry is big and has a lot of opportunities to gain from. But also it is a place where one can easily be financially successful considering the fact that when it comes to weddings couples are not cost conscious.

“To some extent as a service provider I am not worried about my prices no matter how high they are. As it's well known that when it comes to weddings, people spend.” she says adding:
“Makeup is a core factor in a wedding because a bride with ruined makeup ruins the entire day – which is supposed to be memorable. This also means she won't get good pictures and generally ruins the memories of her wedding day."

Her life and career highlight is being on the Forbes 30/30 list earlier this year.

She does make up classes but also did her recent master class in collaboration with a Kenyan cosmetic line ‘Huddahthebosschick’.

“The future for Lavie is expanding my brand to Arusha, Mwanza - the big cities of Tanzania,” she says.

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