Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Interview - Niki Heat is more than just a business to us, it’s a vision

A good businesswoman possesses positive qualities that help her propel to success. Businesswomen are slowly gaining equal footing with their male counterparts. In many areas, the days when men used to dominate the world of big businesses and huge corporations are waning. The opinion of women (whether in high heels and red lipstick or more gender neutral attire) is sought more frequently; this occurs in boardrooms and local chambers of commerce. A good example is Nicoline AJ of Niki Heat who has managed to successfully made her vision a business in a town like Bamenda. Kinnaka's Blog had a chat with  Nicoline AJ and this is what she had to say about Niki Heat...

KB - What inspired you to start Niki Heat?

To be honest with you Kiki, Niki Heat has been a long time coming. I love beauty and I always wanted to share it with those around me. In addition, and this may sound cliché but its true; I love helping people especially those who have something to offer society and Niki Heat allows me to achieve both goals. So as you see, Niki Heat is more than just a business to us, it’s a vision and we are happy to share it with the people of Bamenda. In other circles we would be described as social entrepreneurs because we are applying business concepts to achieve social impact. Besides the numerous jobs we’ve created in Bamenda, we think the most lasting impact will be achieved by raising an army of young entrepreneurs who will lead Bamenda and Cameroon into the future. That is why we offer top class training in makeup, fashion, and modeling; professions that offer very bright prospects in Cameroon’s burgeoning entertainment industry.

KB - How would you describe your signature look and what is it about your style that sets you apart from other makeup artists?

That’s a very good question because many people see makeup and think it’s a one size fits all. At Niki Heat, all of our makeup artists see each customer as an individual and try to play up that person’s best features. We understand that while some ladies are fine with natural daytime looks, others prefer minimalist or smokier, more dramatic ones and we are happy to oblige. What I will say however is that at Niki Heat, we take into account your personality, mood, and facial features when choosing the colors and textures that work best with your skin tone. Some of our customers have told us that they think the brow is the Niki Heat signature and we are very humbled by that. Please allow me to say something that I think is important. I think makeup is a tool of self-expression because it puts power in the hands of every woman by allowing them to experiment and push their own boundaries. Each makeup palette represents endless possibilities so for these reasons, I think that a signature look would actually get in the way.

KB - What is the most important beauty advice that you can give to Cameroonian women?
While its true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you don’t want to the last one who doesn’t know how to properly apply foundation or concealer. Some people naturally just have a deep appreciation for the colors and textures and if you know that’s is not you; don’t panic because most women are just like you. However, don’t be like most people who just sit around and continue using the same look they learned from their mom. Instead reach out to a professional makeup artist and ask for advice or attend a makeup tutorial. Coincidentally, Niki Heat offers 4-hour makeup tutorials every Tuesday at 10am so if you live in Bamenda, you’re in luck. If you can’t attend a class, watching makeup videos on YouTube is a good place to start. Whatever your situation, anything is better than nothing.

KB - If a customer asks for a style that you are sure would not suit them, how do you convince the customer to go otherwise?

This actually happens more than you think and we understand where they are coming from. Lets say you are a big fan of Empire and you really love Cookie’s makeup or you are fan of Nsang Dilong and she’s wearing makeup you just must have. Chances are its not going to fit you. So when this happens, we take a moment to discuss it with the client. We find out about their personality, inquire if the makeup is for an event or work, the kind of outfit they’ll be wearing. Based on the answers, we use our makeup catalog to show them recommendations for everyday, graduation or wedding makeup. We’ve stressed to all our MUA that ultimately the customer is the one to decide the kind of makeup they want so they have to listen to them.

KB - How do you prepare dry and oily skin for foundation makeup application?

Thank you for that question because it will give me a chance to discuss something that most women don’t realize. One of the easiest ways to ruin your appearance is to use the wrong foundation. If you have oily skin, you’re better off using a powder foundation. It’ll provide even coverage without caking your face in makeup, and it helps to absorb excess oils in the skin. If you have dry skin, choose a cream or mousse foundation. It provides an even, moist finish, allowing your skin to appear less dry than it is naturally. It also helps to cover imperfections and offers a bit of moisture. Finally, if you have normal or a combination of oily and dry skin, a liquid foundation is best. I know that for women in Cameroon and Bamenda in particular, the right foundation may not always be available in stores so in times like these, its good practice to have a makeup artist on speed dial because they can help you improvise.

KB - Some trends can feel a bit out-there for the average Bamenda woman.

Especially style-conscious women of “a certain age” who wish to remain current but fear looking as if they’re trying too hard. What are some comfort-zone-friendly ways to rock the latest trends?
In such instances, I would advice they consult a professional makeup artists who will work with them. If they can’t for whatever reason, a minimalist look is recommended because it is timeless and will also save the day. After all, they say sometimes less is more.

KB - How do you overcome the archaic view that only prostitutes in Cameroon wear makeup?

There was a time in the course of human history when makeup was associated with dishonorable women but that time has passed. The way I see it, those who hold such views are the same people who refuse to use smartphones, reject social media, and still keep money under their mattresses instead of banks. They are unwilling to accept that society has evolved to the point where makeup is a necessity. What I want to tell them is that the genie is out of the bottle and it isn’t going back in whether they accept it or not.

KB- They are advocates out there who think a woman should not wear makeup to be beautiful. What do you have to say about that?

Kiki, have you ever heard of the "beauty premium"? It is a well established social psychology phenomenon which says that when we see a beautiful face, we assume the person behind the face is more socially adept, confident, and successful. Even employers are more likely to hire a person with an attractive face especially if there’s another equally qualified but less attractive person. Also, a new study conducted by a Harvard Medical School researcher found that wearing makeup promotes your image as a person who is competent, likeable, attractive, and trustworthy. What this means is that makeup has never been more important than it is today. We live in a world where people are judged by their looks and at Niki Heat we want to level the playing field so that those who’ve been overlooked for so long can finally be seen; we want to give them a face and a voice. They deserve their share of the beauty premium, even if it’s for a day.

KB - Do you think the Bamenda women have been getting it wrong as far as makeup is concerned? If yes, how do you plan to fix that?

No I wouldn’t say it like that. What I’ll say is that what matters in this case is the ending, not the beginning. Bamenda women may be late to the makeup phenomenon but Niki Heat is here to accelerate their learning curve so that they finish on top.

KB - We all know Niki Heat for it's flawless makeup, but that is not all Niki Heat is about. Can you tell us about the other services Niki Heat provides?

Sure, in addition to makeup, Niki Heat is also a fashion design house that specializes in ready-to-wear clothing and complementary accessories such as African fabric-covered handbags, bracelets, necklaces, and shoes. In addition, we offer top class facial treatment and manicure services as well. Finally, we have recently added the Niki Heat Modeling Agency to the family. It is a full service agency with professionally trained models. Our goal is to become Cameroon’s leading modeling agency placing fashion models in runway shows and promotional models in national print and TV commercials.

Kiki thank you once again for the opportunity to share my vision with your readers.

No comments:

Post a Comment