Tara Fela- Durotoye

When we talk about Women in Business , we cannot but talk about The Female Business Guru, TARA DUROTOYE. Her establishment in the Business world as inspired many to buckle up their belt and believe in whatever Vision they have. Her story is not just an inspiration to many but also a reminder that whatever you believe in , with passion , hardwork and resilience can be achieved without any doubt.


Tara Fela-Durotoye was born at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos to John Ejegi Sagay, a commissioner at the Federal Civil Service, Nigeria and Felicia Omaghomi. She started her education at Command Children School, Victoria Island and proceeded to Nigeria Navy Secondary School, Ojo, where she was a boarder. In form 5, she was made the Sanitary and Welfare Prefect. She graduated from the Lagos State University, with a degree in Law and proceeded to establish the House of Tara International.

She started House of Tara at the age of 20, from her living room, whilst an undergraduate at university back in 1998. She’s since gone on to launch Nigeria’s first ever bridal directory in 1999, and in 2004 she opened the country’s leading beauty academy.

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…. I eventually went to the university and I studied law. As an undergraduate, while I was still in school I started a business. I started with just N15,000 (fifteen thousand naira). It is less than the cost of a blackberry phone.

House of Tara HQ

She later trained as a makeup artist of Charles Fox. Yet, her early interest in makeup and fashion was stimulated by her step mother, a highly fashionable and glamorous woman who used to work in the Ministry of Culture and studied Fine Arts. Tara says of her mother’s inspiration growing up: “ She was a fantastic woman, very fashionable, so when you looked at her dressing table she had make-up products, she would paint her face in the morning, she never missed her hairdressing appointment, her nail polish was always perfect. I grew up seeing her adorn herself and I liked looking at her through all that process. I didn’t know that a seed was being sown in my heart.”

As she encountered challenges , Of Course Yes , a lot of challenges to be very specific. Of the challenges she had encountered in business she says: “At start up, we faced challenges with raising funds. In Nigeria, you need to be able to get financing and raising funds was a big problem. Also, our industry is an informal one and as pioneers, we could not find standards to copy. It’s easier when you see something you can copy but when you have to think it through and make it up as they come along, it’s not easy. Now, we are dealing with challenges of attracting talent and retaining them; keeping the voice of the vision across multiple branches and across a number of people. We also face the challenge of people asking us to sell shares in the company and people consistently looking for ways to be part of the business that will boom.”

Upon an interview , Tara says of her entrepreneurial experience in those early days: “I started at a time when it wasn’t even popular for people generally to be entrepreneurs, unlike what obtains now. Many people, who were my peers, didn’t even fully understand the concept. Even for me, I didn’t wake up one morning to be an entrepreneur. The focus was on doing what I loved, which is, making women beautiful. This passion started when I was studying Law at the Lagos State University. From bridal make-up, the clientele began to expand, and slowly, it dawned on me that this was a big deal, and it could go far beyond a few random weddings and become a pioneering movement. I haven’t looked back ever since”.

Over the years, the House of Tara has achieved a lot of firsts in the Nigerian market. It launched Nigeria’s first Bridal Directory in 1999. It also established the first make-up school in Nigeria. Tara is very proud of one of her key achievements, ‘Be Inspired’, Nigeria’s first home-grown fragrance, and Orekelewa, a make-up line. Today, House of Tara has set its eyes beyond West Africa. It is aiming to make an impact across Africa and beyond.

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. Recognition has not been slow in coming – in 2013, she was listed as one of 20 Young Power Women in Africa by Forbes with the World Economic Forum also naming her as a Young Global Leader .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, the Entrepreneur of the Year award 2007 and the Creative Business Award of the Year, Success Digest 2008.

Her life’s work has been profiled on several international platforms including New York Forum Africa (NYFA), France, Africa by Reuters, Bloomberg and CNN’s African Voices,a weekly show that highlights Africa’s most engaging personalities, exploring the lives and passions of people who are shaping change in Africa.

Tara’s entrepreneurial success story has been an inspiration to many young people. To date, over 1,500 students have graduated from her make-up school so far and many have gone on to start their own businesses, while some have become beauty bloggers. A number also work for international cosmetic brands, which like many western companies are keen to invest in the oil rich frontier economy. Tara has 80 full-time employees and over 3000 independent sales representatives across the country.

Her list of Awards is unending as she has bagged a lot of awards in her year of business. Some of which 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

The House of Tara International has also won a number of awards including

Right Vision Movement Award Creativity & Productivity Make over Outlet of the year 2006.
The Africa SMME Award presented in South Africa and the Entrepreneur of the Year award.2007
Creative business award of the year, success digest 2008

House of Tara HQ
House of Tara HQ

The story of Tara durotoye story is that of an African Brand Luminary who is committed to changing the face of an entire industry sector in her country. She is also passionate about empowering and training a new generation of young women entrepreneurs to believe in their dreams and Vision. Tara Fela-Durotoye is an inspiration to all those African women entrepreneurs who have a vision for their own businesses and who also wish to make a positive impact on the lives of others on the continent.

Tara Fela Durotoye is a woman who we all know for her Focus and determination to set a Pace. She believes in values such as diligence, consistency, integrity, creativity and excellence, credibility. She in all her endeavors shows great effort and enthusiasm, resourcefulness and Brilliance.

The Nigerian Woman Diary Celebrates Tara for been a selfless leader , An Icon and an Inspiration to many Nigerian Youths. We commend her for her hardwork , diligence and her immense contribution not just to the Nigerian Fashion Industry but also to the entire Nigerian Community .

OVIE INDUSTRY. Do we start by talking about her beauty , or her radiant smile , her excellence as a fashionista or her profession as a prominent

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *