Sharmaine Oddoye is the Founder of Sharms Hair & Makeup, a makeup and beauty start-up that provides women with practical and useful beautify tips for everyday use. What started out as the blog Things I Love – Hair, Nails & Makeup by Sharms has now evolved into the brand Sharms Hair & Makeup. Sharmaine graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 2012 where she majored in business with a concentration in marketing. She moved to Ghana after graduation and now works as the social media manager for Multichoice-DSTV. She runs her beauty business on the weekends. Ayiba’s Edem Torkornoo spoke with her about her interest in the beauty industry.

What piqued your interest in the beauty industry?

I can’t pinpoint the exact time I got interested in makeup. As a little girl, I used to go through my mother’s stuff and make up my face. But in the summer of my sophomore year, I wasn’t going to go home to Ghana until almost at the end of the break. I had nothing to do and I watched a lot of YouTube videos and thought people’s makeup videos were fun. So I started a blog. I hadn’t even started doing videos then. I just put up posts with pictures and looks I liked.

Were people receptive to your posts and looks?

Yes, they were. In fact much more than I thought. And at that time nobody in Ghana had really started doing any of those things so it was like, wow, this is interesting.

Who were your first readers?

In the beginning, it was friends and then it became known and I started a Facebook page and then it became friends of friends. And now there are complete strangers that I don’t even know.

When did you realize that your work had become really big?

When I started making clip-in extensions for sale, people I didn’t know started ordering them. People who wanted me to do their makeup also approached me. That’s when I realized that this thing had really picked up. This was a year and a bit after I had started.

Do you do the clip-in yourself or do you get someone to make them?

I make them myself. I have people who help me at home. I saw hair clips-in a beauty store and decided to make one for myself. My cousin had also bought clip-ins at that time and so we looked at how it was done and decided that we could also make them ourselves. I didn’t mean to start selling it but people kept noticing it and thinking that it was a weave and so I thought that this would be a quick hairstyle change for women. That’s when I started to do it for sale. The main idea is to make it affordable for people like me who don’t like spending a lot of money on things. I didn’t want it to be so expensive that people will have to think twice before they buy it.

How long does it take to make one?

About thirty minutes.

Do you remember the first person you made-up?

They were a bunch of girls going to the Tema International School prom. I made them up and put pictures on Facebook and those were well received. Now, I have packages for different looks and occasions. I even have a bridal package that comes with a consultation and testing of the makeup to know what works. I also do the makeup for photo shoots.

What are two lessons you have learned from doing this?

One thing I have learned is that not everybody is going to like what you will do or be satisfied with it. I have had an experience where someone bought clip-ins for someone else and started complaining before giving it to the person. Just keep pushing with what you’re doing and something good will come out of it.

What do you read/ watch for inspiration and growth lessons?

Oh dear. I watch a lot of YouTube videos. I won’t lie and say I read books like “How to evolve from a tree and blossom.” I watch YouTube videos of makeup artistes who started like me and have now moved on up. I guess that inspires me to do better and push harder.

Who’s your inspiration/make up (s)hero? 

My biggest makeup inspiration is Leina (yes another YouTuber, I’m obsessed); she’s in California I believe. In Ghana I like Renee Q’s work & Sacha Okoh as well.

What’s the biggest makeup mistake that a lot of women make and don’t realize they are making?

Oops! The biggest is not blending foundation in properly or using a lighter foundation. This is a mistake I’ve made on myself as well as on a client. I had to wash everything off and then start again. I usually take photos after I do makeup to see how it looks with the flash and it was so horrible! I couldn’t let her walk out the door like that. I guess a lot of people do not take photos after their makeup is done, or when they go out to buy their makeup the lighting in the store is different so they can’t really pick out the right shade.

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Do you have future plans to produce your own beauty/ makeup products?

I have a million and one plans. I want a makeup line, more clip-in extensions, wigs, weaves, eventually a beauty parlour – hair, nails, makeup, and then a beauty school!

Why did you decide to go back home right away? Why didn’t you work in the US?

I actually did an internship for about six months, but my heart wasn’t in it. I knew there were more opportunities waiting for me in Ghana, especially since I had been testing the waters since my sophomore year. I still haven’t gone into my hair and makeup full time, but I will very soon.

Where can people easily find you to buy or book a make-up session?

WhatsApp – 0268934066. Usually I can’t take calls because I’m at work but WhatsApp is a great way to get me. I can send pictures to people and then direct them to where they can buy the hair – my mum’s office in Osu.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to get into the business? 

You need to have a lot of patience. You need to not be in for the money because you need to build a portfolio before you can start asking for payment. Who will hire you if you don’t have a portfolio to show them? And you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone.

Follow Things I Love – Hair, Nails and Makeup by Sharms on Facebook and check out the website here for different beauty and makeup tips!