Usually I would write a very eloquent introduction but with the depth of Love I have for Ms. Tara Fela-Durotoye, I can’t seem to find polished words. This woman is an icon, a jewel of inestimable value and an example of excellence and commitment to impact. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to Ms. Tara speak a couple of times before but in those encounters, I never really felt connected. However as I became aware of who I am and as my dreams and goals become clearer she just stands out as a distinct example and clear projection of where I want to be and how I want to live. I can go on and on about Ms. Tara but, that is not what this is about. Ms. Tara (Or Aunty Tara as I like to call you), if you’re reading this, please know that I love you sincerely and I’m constantly rooting for you.


Tara Fela-Durotoye is a Nigerian-born lawyer turned Africa’s leading beauty and makeup entrepreneur. She started House of Tara at the age of 20, from her living room, whilst an undergraduate at university back in 1998 and has now grown it into a franchise enterprise with three main lines of business: the Make-up Studio, the Makeup School and the Tara product line comprising beauty products and professional make-up kits. She is the creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty range, Inspired Perfume, the H.I.P Beauty range and is most recently the founder and convener of the TFDSeries. She is married to Fela Durotoye, a business strategist, corporate activator and CEO of Visible Impact. They have three sons, Mobolurin, Demilade & Morolaoluwa.

Tara started the chain that has produced over 3000 of makeup artists via the makeup school, some of which are now active players in Nigerian beauty industry. She has also succeeded in empowering over 4000 young ladies in the tertiary institutions with the Tara Orekelewa beauty representatives’ initiative that makes them financially independent, improves their self-esteem while building their marketing and entrepreneurial skills

7 Practical Lessons we can learn from Tara Fela-Durotoye

Think beyond you

Ms. Tara possesses an aggressive drive towards the economic empowerment of the Nigerian woman. In her words “For us it’s the impact we are making that is most rewarding”. The House Of Tara Makeup School, founded in 2007, has trained over 3,000 female graduates to date. Many of which have established successful businesses of their own. With some 4,000 independent female sales representatives across Nigeria, many of whom are self-employed, currently earn a living distributing House Of Tara products in their respective regions.

Of what use is the success you attain if your community, city, nation, continent and the world at large isn’t better for it? True successes live and do things beyond themselves and that’s why they continue to excel. Let’s start thinking impact.


 Getting a mentor is a spiritual thing

In one of Ms. Tara’s tweets in 2014, she said “Mentors are spiritual people…  call them by a constant desire for them”

Just like I’m calling Ms. Tara into my life right now, call your own identified potential mentor, and even if you don’t have anyone in mind, call for a mentor. God is in the habit of granting his children the desires of their heart. So start chasing your mentor heartily. Somehow God will organize circumstances and events to link you up.


 Take GOOD advantage of the opportunities available to you

During the early days of House Of Tara, Ms. Tara needed $5,000 to secure a store location. She recalls several unsuccessful attempts at obtaining a loan. Fortunately, her mentor Ms. Ibukun Awosika Founder and Chairman of The Chair Centre Ltd and Chairman First Bank of Nigeria spoke to the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) co-founder and former CEO, Tayo Aderinokun, about his company’s ill treatment of entrepreneurs, and a promising one in particular. Before long, Ms. Tara received a call from the bank’s CEO. She presented a convincing business plan to the lender, and requested more than 100 times her initial request

Opportunities come for you to take FULL advantage of. Don’t dull yourself, when you find an opportunity that can help you achieve your goals, that’s not the time for you to be conservative and feeble, dive right in.


Marry a Correct man

In one of Ms. Tara’s tweets in 2014 in response to a question she was asked on how a young lady can stand out in her chosen field, She said “Marry a correct man it makes the world a better place… One who knows and is secure in where he is going and who he is… One who when you share your vision with has a twinkle in his eyes and excited to go on the road with you”

If your current or potential Bae is not “correct” by the definitions Ms. Tara has given, please reevaluate such relationship, except of course if you’re already married. But for single ladies out there like me going somewhere to happen, please no incorrect men should be entertained.



Ms. Tara’s early journey towards business and entrepreneurship was inspired by an advertiser, who spoke to her about being business conscious whilst she was still in secondary school. She remembers:  “I was in secondary school many years ago and a man came to speak to us and he came to speak to us as an entrepreneur, that is, as a business man. He was in advertising and because he was creative, I found him interesting. He made me interested in business.

Words are seeds, how do you recognize a seed that will spur you in the right direction if you don’t listen? The next time you have the opportunity to hear someone speak, listen because that might just be the seed you need.


Stay true to yourself

In Ms. Tara’s words “Stay true to yourself, stay true to what you are trying to achieve, otherwise you get distracted. Side comments, how people think you should do things, and I think that everyone wants to hear their own voice so you need to stay true to yourself. Before you come out of your house you have to decide, yes this is what I want to do. You still need counsel but you should be able to apply counsel to your own decision to be able to take insightful steps.”

Before you rush over this one, how do you stay true to a self you don’t even know? I say first, discover yourself and then stay true to it. That’s the only way to be stable and accomplish your distinct assignment. Jesus did this, at some point they even tried to make him a king but he refused because he knew exactly who he was and what his purpose was (John 6:1-16).

 A message for Ms. Tara to young women entrepreneurs

“My message to young women entrepreneurs is this – businesses experience phases. There’s a phase where you are just starting up and need to give it your all. What sort of brand are you building? Your brand is your identity. How do people perceive your brand? It’s not just about the product that you’re offering. When people think of your brand, what positive or negative emotions come to mind? These things are important at the foundation level, because that’s a critical stage of building. It means investing in quality, your education and in the time that’s required. You have to be a 24-hour-employee of that business, and as you grow, you get to a point where you have more time on your hands. It’s at that point you begin to employ other people to take some of the responsibility off you.”



Some of Ms. Tara’s achievements include:

  • In 1999, she launched the first bridal directory in Nigeria
  • In 2000, she facilitated the first-ever series of bridal seminars, drawing for the first time in Nigeria celebrated professionals in the bridal industry to speak to brides.
  • She established the country’s first make-up school in 2004.
  • She launched the Tara product line, comprising a range of professional tool kits (such as make-up boxes, brushes and purses) for make-up artists and a wide range of make-up products including eye shadows, eye liner, lip gloss, foundation and powders.
  • Tara was also the brain behind the 2014 Makeup in Nigeria Conference (MINC), the first ever gathering of makeup professionals in Nigeria.
  • In 2013, Forbes listed her as one 20 Young Power Women In Africa
  • She was named a Young Global Leader because of her entrepreneurial strides in 2013 by the World Economic Forum.
  • She is a graduate of the prestigious Stanford SEED Transformation Program and this has aided her work as a mentor for thousands of young women across Africa and a standout entrepreneur.
  • Her life’s work has been profiled on several international platforms including
    • New York Forum Africa (NYFA)
    • France24
    • Africa 24 by Reuters
    • Bloomberg
    • CNN’s African Voices
  • In 2007, She was awarded the Africa SMME Award and the Entrepreneur award in South Africa
  • Since inception in 1998, HOT has expanded into a 14-branch world-class make-up studio, a network of make-up schools and a beauty product line with international distribution. The pan-African brand produces the ‘Orekelewa’ line, which specializes in products for darker skin.
  • Tara has undoubtedly paved the way for other homegrown beauty houses like MUD and Sleek Nigeria.
  • She launched Nigeria’s inaugural make-up line and an exotic fragrance called ‘Be Inspired’.
  • In July 2013, House Of Tara launched the 100 Voices Coffee Table Book, a project to encourage entrepreneurship through the propagation of testimonies of young Nigerian women – and some men – who, through the House Of Tara business model, have improved their lives, against all odds.


Some of Tara Fela-Durotoye’s national and international awards include:

  • Entrepreneur of the Year (The Future Awards)
  • Young Person of the Year 2007 (The Future Awards)
  • Best Makeup Artist (Fashion and Style magazine)
  • Award for Excellence in the Beauty Sector 2006(City People magazine)
  • Pioneer Award for Beauty 2006. (Fashion and Style Award)
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Lagos Enterprise Award)
  • Wedding Planner Honorary award for mentoring other make artists, January 2008
  • Award for excellence (beauty), city people
  • 1st lady award for Women empowerment

Unsurprisingly, the House of Tara, her flagship business has under her supervision won a kit full of awards including but not limited to

  • The Right Vision Movement Award Creativity & Productivity Makeover Outlet of the year 2006
  • The Africa SMME Award presented in South Africa
  • Creative Business Award of the Year, Success Digest 2008.


Ms. Tara Fela-Durotoye is a true builder not only changing the face of an entire industry sector in her country, but is also empowering and training a new generation of young women entrepreneurs to follow in her footsteps and continue her legacy. Most important to note is that she is absolutely passionate about Jesus Christ.

She is currently working on her book How to Turn Your Hobby into a Thriving Business and I know just like me, you can’t wait to get our hands on it.

This post was culled from the Thresh woman WCW Column. The ThreshWoman WCW is a column I manage with the goal to celebrate and encourage the successes of women all around the world while inspiring other women to chase their dreams fiercely. 


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