BM|Pro, the brainchild of Banke Meshida-Lawal, Nigeria’s pioneer and foremost makeup artist and beauty entrepreneur chose our founder Ink Eze for their 2018 maiden edition of BM|Pro Covers. Fun fact: Banke was the first person ever to do Ink’s makeup.
Banke says of the choice,
Happy to be back!
Starting our #BMProCoverGirl series on a new note with none other than the petite Nkechi “Ink” Eze! I’ve seen her embrace makeup and wondered how she’d look in some BM Pro makeup. I’ve also added a bit more to the spread and gone and done a full blown interview too, so you know what’s inside that beautiful, smart head of hers.
1. Why branch out from BellaNaija and face AsoEbiBella?
I treated BellaNaija Weddings like a company within a company. We launched the Instagram page and developed a new way of storytelling that caught like fire, and BN Weddings became Africa’s most popular and coveted wedding platform.
Behind every blushing bride and groom was their decked out troupe of family and friends, who put as much effort into their looks, it is really one of the best celebrations of African culture in today’s modern world and with that, I conceived of the #AsoEbiBella hashtag as a way for people to connect with fellow traditional fashion enthusiasts, explore new styles and discover new vendors. From the very early days of AsoEbiBella, about 2 years before it launched as a venture, we just knew it was special and that it would become my startup so I began taking steps towards this.
We would look at the analytics and we were in awe and inspired by the millions of unique users viewing and sharing the compilations every week, it was blossoming into a thriving community and at that point, the community needed its own platform, it was the perfect time to fully commit to creating what is now the top fashion tech startup in Nigeria.
2. Has your work load reduced or it’s more, considering you went on to uncharted ground?
I give my all to everything I do, I always have. I got the best GCE result in secondary school, while I was Head Girl, won competitive scholarships and got into an Ivy League school, America’s 7th oldest institution of higher education – Brown University. I’ve always embraced hard work and ambition. I believe in the AsoEbiBella vision, so I work hard, but now I have years of experience, I also work smarter, so I can have a personal life to do things I love. Like reading for example, I’m currently doing an 18 books in 2018 challenge. I’ve read one book, now I’m reading two others simultaneously. You can check out my Instagram to see the one I’ve reviewed so far, by a brilliant Nigerian entrepreneur G. Fagbure.
3. What is AsoEbiBella all about?
The AsoEbiBella brand extends across the web from social media including Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, BN and Facebook to our core which is the AsoEbiBella platform – www.asoebibella.com which is a community + a search and discovery platform – Bellas (our amazing community of women and men) can share their photos and find endless colour combinations and styles from other users to inspire your next aso ebi outfit then connect with vendors of items such as fabric, beads as well.
We reward our users regularly too because they deserve it. Last year, we worked with Orijin for an #OrijinalAsoEbiBella campaign where we transformed 5 tailors’ studios all over Nigeria – in the East in Enugu, the North – Jos, in Lagos from Mushin to Ajah – broke down the walls, replaced the toilets, painted and gifted them with new equipment, while the Bellas got boxes of fabrics. In the past year we’ve given away fabrics, cufflinks and stud button sets, and more.
“Weddings” and “fashion” is always among the top Googled words in the country because Nigerians have a big celebration culture. We are also seeing increased interest and growth from other African countries including Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa. This illustrates the impact of technology has had on culture. Other countries are embracing the AsoEbi idea and this is creating commercial opportunities across the continent.
4. How does it feel having a sibling like Uche?
God blessed me by placing me in my family.
Uche is my immediate older sister, and we happen to be the only two in the same industry of media and tech, so she’s my mentor, friend and stylist rolled into one. She’s also my “twin”. We’re almost the same height, size and have the same shoe size – lucky me – it’s fate. 🙂
My siblings are so diverse in their interests. Just to give you an idea, we have a star musician, a medical doctor who’s also licensed in Chinese medicine – acupuncture and holistic medicine, and a cleaning company owner among us! It doesn’t get more different than that. However, what unites us all is our shared values – a focus on positive impact, and a drive to be the being the best at what we do.