We have all been in positions where we are working a job that no longer excites us. Jobs that makes hours feel like years and no longer bring us joy. That was the feeling Ottawa makeup artist Anthonia Bejide had while she worked her retail job at MAC cosmetics. Bejide liked the opportunities that her job at MAC gave her, but she felt the time had come for her to leave and focus on doing makeup on her terms.
“I was looking for the freedom to explore different aspects of makeup,” said Bejide Founder of Anthonia Makeup.
Bejide is a graduate of Criminology from Carleton University who thought that she was going to be a police officer. After attending the first information session, she knew that was not the job for her. A year later, Bejide began working retail with MAC Cosmetics, and that was where she rekindled her love for body painting and beauty makeup.
Three years after quitting her job at MAC, Bejide has made a name in Ottawa as one of the top makeup artists in the city. She’s done makeup for CBC’s Vassy Kapelos, worked on movie sets, and was recently nominated for Faces Award in the category best makeup artist.
Bejide says getting the recognition she has today was not an easy journey. It involved a lot of early mornings, 17-hour set days, not knowing if she was going to have jobs the next week and actively building a following on social media.
It has paid off in the long run, Bejide gets busy during the summer months and has to delegate some of her bookings to upcoming makeup artists that she trusts. One of them is Teniola Arokoyo.
Teniola Arokoyo met Bejide through a mutual friend and since then, she has seen Bejide as a mentor on how to navigate the beauty industry in Ottawa. Arokoyo says that when she started makeup, her clientele consisted of mostly friends and family, but with the help of Bejide, she began to meet more people interested in her services.
“One of the biggest jobs I’ve done as a makeup artist came through a recommendation for Anthonia,” said Arokoyo.
Arokoyo says that Bejide has corrected her mistakes with love and shown her things that she can improve on to help her grow her business.
In her entrepreneurial journey, Bejide has faced some bumps along the way. She’s had times when business was slow, and cash flow was not consistent, but that did not stop her from trying to do better.
“Slow business periods prompted me to think of what I could offer my clients to ensure I had business all year round,” said Bejide.
Her desire to increase her income led her to take a certificate program at Gina’s College to become a licensed esthetician. She now offers this service to her clients.
As she works to diversify her skills and income, Bejide thought that it was vital for her to find a way to learn more about the business side of running her business. That’s when she found Invest Ottawa.
“To successfully grow my business, I had to go and learn the business side of things,” said Bejide.
In 2019 she attended classes at Invest Ottawa that helped her create a business plan, gave her guidelines on how to scale her company, and how to overcome challenges in her industry.
In that same year, she was invited by Invest Ottawa to pitch her business to judges for a chance to win $5000. Bejide took the opportunity and won the prize money, which she is using to develop her makeup products.
“I am so grateful for Invest Ottawa,” said Bejide. “I encourage young entrepreneurs in the city to attend one of their free courses.”
In the process of working with Invest Ottawa, Bejide has had the opportunity to mentor teen entrepreneurs, and the one advice she always gives them is to read about business or whichever industry you want to go into.
“Reading is essential for growth,” said Bejide. “ There’s a book for every stage of business you are in.”
Bejide realizes that being an entrepreneur in the field of makeup in Ottawa can be difficult, but she believes that if you are good at what you do and treat people well, you can succeed in the makeup industry.
“Be nice to people you never know who will bring the right opportunity your way,” said Bejide.