Tara Durotoye


A popular wealth creator once said: “When money realizes that it is in good hands, it wants to stay and multiply in those hands.” That’s what Vanessa Ideh Adekoya represents in her industry. She understands the power of merging financial Literacy with creativity. Vanessa has managed to turn YouTube into a lucrative business, and she is now teaching other women how to do it.

In April 2020 she joined Youtube and started creating content around trending topics, and in June 2021, the certified financial education instructor (CFEI) and former accountant decided to start from scratch and build a brand-new channel called, Launch To Wealth.

The platform has now evolved into a goldmine, making Vanessa one of the top black Youtubers in the world. In November 2021, she made $23,700 from her YouTube channel in just five months of launching it, and her subscribers increased significantly. The inspiring financial coach has turned her hobby into a career, and she is reaping the fruit of her labour, hard work and tenacity.

In this Interview with Esther Ijewere, she shares her passion for gender equity and how she is using her platform to teach women the importance of financial freedom.

Vanessa Ideh Interview with Women of Rubies
Vanessa Ideh

Childhood Influence

Yes, My childhood influenced me in a way. I can look back on my childhood and find patterns of creativity and expression through words.  At the same time, I have always been good with numbers so I knew that whatever I would do as an adult had to allow me to use those skills simultaneously.

Why I Pitched My Tent In the Financial Literacy Sector  

Making a mark in the world of Financial Literacy as a digital creator is me coming full circle with myself. For as long as I have known myself, I have been a confident speaker and creative thinker but growing up in an African household, I thought there was no way for me to express my natural talents and be financially stable at the same time. You were either a broke artist or an educated professional. So, I decided to be an educated professional and it doesn’t get more professional than being an Accountant.

However, after landing a job at one of the Big 4 accounting firms, I quickly realized that I would never feel fulfilled if I did not have room to be creative and to speak often as part of my job. That was when the search for an alternative path began. I had coffee chats with people who worked in Marketing, PR and other communication-heavy fields but it wasn’t until I found a brand called Clever Girl Finance that I felt like someone had created exactly what I wanted to create. I did further research and found that she is a Certified Financial Education Instructor so I became one too. The rest is history.

The Journey So Far

It’s been Amazing. On many days, I feel like I am living in a dream because I recognize how much of a privilege it is to show up as your full self, work in a field that you were naturally designed to work in and make a difference in the lives of many. I see it as God’s goodness and I never want to take God’s goodness for granted.

Challenges I Encounter In My Line Of Work

It depends on what room I am in. In some spaces, the challenge is explaining what exactly I do for a living. In other spaces, the challenge is finding the right people to join my team so we can move the vision forward. However, regardless of the challenges I face, I still find joy in doing what I do.

The Society and Its Support For Content Creators

It is a relatively new field and so people don’t understand it enough to appreciate it. It is only a matter of time, though. I see that changing in the future.

Vanessa Ideh - Founder of Launch To Wealth
Vanessa Ideh – Founder, Launch To Wealth

Other Projects and Activities

I am currently working on a project that would shed light on the creator economy. It is something I am so passionate about because it is the reason why I am able to do what I do in a sustainable way.

What I Enjoy Most About My Job

The level of impact that my work has. People literally pray for me every day because I expose them to opportunities that they otherwise would not be exposed to.

 3 Women Who Inspire Me And Why 

Bola Sokunbi, the CEO of Clever Girl Finance. I love the fact that she was bold enough to build a platform centered around women and money. Those are two subjects that get me fired up and as far as I’m concerned, she is a blueprint.

Tara Durotoye, the CEO of House of Tara. I love her love for life and for people. She wears many hats well and I think that is not easy for anyone to do.

Myleik Teele, the CEO of Curlbox. That’s a woman who believed she could and did. She built a social media community and then turned around to create an amazing company around the needs of the women in her community. That’s remarkable; in my humble opinion.

How I Use My Passion For Financial Literacy and Gender Equality To Create Room For Other Women in Our Industry

I actually have a closed community for black women in the financial literacy and media space. It’s one of my most recent projects and something I am very passionate about. I love to see women thrive and succeed.

One Thing I Wish To Change In The World

I would make room for more black women to thrive. We need more women at the table.

How To Empower Women In The Society

Teach them how money works. I don’t think women can be empowered if we aren’t financially empowered.

Being  A Woman of Rubies

My audacity. I think it takes a lot of courage to break away from a traditional path, tell yourself the truth about who you are and then find or create a path that allows you to show up as your best self. Many more people would do this too if they had the audacity so I would say audacity makes me unique.

To Young Women Trying To Navigate Their Path In Life

I will probably say 2 things:

Who you are is enough. Find where people like you get paid and go there

Give yourself options. You never want to be in a situation where you feel stuck so ensure you make decisions that open you up to multiple opportunities

Take a look at other related interviews we’ve had in the past:

Divine Favour Osomujie-paul Mumeh, also known as DF or Divi. is a lover of God. She is a Law student, content creator, a youtuber and a Podcaster, birthed out of her love to talk to people and communicate her own view.

She is the CEO of lashes by divi, where she sells quality lashes for affordable prices.She loves talking, engaging in self development conversation and loves reading alot.

Who is Divine Favour?

Divine Favour Osomujie-paul Mumeh is a 400l student of Law at Rivers state university(RSU). She is a lover of God, a jovial and goofy fellow.

She is a content creator, vlogger, (Ilahi’s empire on YouTube), and also a Podcaster (Coffee time with Divi).

2. Who and what inspires your creative flow?

My creative flow is inspired by God, by my environment, my creative flow is also inspired by myself. I desire to continuously impact lives and because of that I keep on pushing.

3. How has the covid-19 pandemic affected you as a student, creative and business owner?

Covid-19 has affected me greatly as a student because since it’s inception into Nigeria, schools have been shut down and education has being on a pause, especially for students in the public schools.

As a business owner, it also has a negative effect because due to the interstate lock down, delivery of products have been low. At a point the whole business was on a hold.

As a creative, the lockdown has been a blessing, this is because now people are at home, there is less workload, and people are looking for platforms to keep them engaged during this period.

4. You vlog with your YouTube channel “Ilahi’s Empire” and recently started a podcast last December “Coffee Time With Divi”. What birthed both and what do they border on?

When I was undergoing the process of self discovery, I realized that there was nothing I liked to do and I am not like those very fortunate to know what their talents are. I realized within that time that I loved to talk, I didn’t know and still don’t know if it counts as a talent but anytime I am talking, I am happy, so I decided to rebrand my talking and make it useful, also before that time I had always dreamt of having a YouTube channel, and I kept waiting for the right time, then one day I just woke up did makeup and I started a relationship series shot 7 videos that day and started uploading.

My podcast was also birthed by my desire to talk. My YouTube channel and my podcast borders on Relationship talks, lifestyle, Vlogs and also me sharing my views on trending topics.

5. Major challenges young creatives and entrepreneurs face in Nigeria?

I think the major challenge young creatives and entrepreneurs face in Nigeria is that they tend to put themselves under pressure by comparing themselves with bigger brands that have toiled to be where they are, I believe your starting stage is a stage to acquire all the experience you need, make mistakes and get forgiven.

6. What has Covid-19 pandemic taught and opened your eyes to?

Value. It has taught me value, the world at large is on hold, but people are still relevant and still making it big in these times, the big question is: Is what you are doing adding value to people around?

7. What is one thing you’ll like to change about yourself?

My unserious nature.

8. List three women who inspire you and why?

Michelle Obama: She inspires me to be that successful woman behind a successful man, her love and support to her husband is overwhelming.

Tara Durotoye: She was amongst the pioneers of makeup brands in Nigeria, I like her perspective to life.

My mom: She is the strongest woman I know and she inspires me to be strong.

9. What inspired you to start your own beauty line: Lashes by Divi. Any plan to expand it to more beauty products? Challenges when you started and any till now?

I actually learnt how to do make-up and during that period I got interested in makeup products so when I had the opportunity to start I took it, yes if money comes I plan to expand to more beauty products.

Getting a good customer base is a huge challenge

10. If given the chance to be the Chief Justice of Nigeria for a day, what will you change?

Go through the cases of those in the prisons and the innocent ones, apply for pardon for them.

11. Did your upbringing in any way prepare you for everything you are into today?

Yes it did. Character wise, and also my love for business grew from staying in my mom’s shop and selling for her.

12. Where do you see yourself/your brand in the nest 5years?

I see my brand becoming a household name, a brand that offer value to people globally.

13. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of girls five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

You are a queen don’t settle for less.

Thousands of young women gathered last weekend at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island to witness the maiden edition of Linda Ikeji’s self-made conference an off-shoot of the “I’d rather be self made” project. The event, which targeted aspiring and established female entrepreneurs, was organized by Africa’s famous blogger, Linda Ikeji.

Addressing over 2000 young women during her opening speech, Linda Ikeji stressed on the importance for older and accomplished women to share their stories, experience and lessons learned on their journey with those who are on their way up. This, she added, will give a boost to young people’s choice of career while helping them work towards their goal.

Speakers at the event include, founder Flying Doctors Nigeria, Dr. Ola Brown, On-Air personality and comedian Omotunde Adebowale David (Lolo 1 of Wazobia), filmmaker, television and video director, Kemi Adetiba, Nollywood actress and producer, Omoni Oboli, IT professional Foluso Gbadamosi, TV personality and media entrepreneur, Peace Hyde, founder House of Tara, Tara Fela Durotoye and former Lagos State Police Command, Public Relations Officer, Dolapo Badmus.

The speakers were generous in the way they shared their experiences and charged up the women to dream big, plan wisely and be assertive in taking opportunities. They charged the young women to accept themselves the way they are, building on their various personalities.

While some shared lessons they had learnt on their journey to the top, encouraging these aspiring entrepreneurs to focus on the trade and not the tricks of the trade, other speakers encouraged all to live purposefully and ensure they empower themselves because within each one of them is the capability and the talent needed for success.

In Nigeria, the beauty industry has grown by leaps and bounds. A report by Euromonitor projected the Nigerian beauty and wellness market to value about $3 billion in 2017. Beyond the figures is an amazing woman, Mrs Tara-Fela Duroye who pioneered the beauty industry in Nigeria.According to a report by  Festus Iyorah .

In the late 90s, just after Nigeria’s return to full democracy in 1999, civilization had taken its toll on every sector: the telecommunication sector was booming, the banking sector had already earned the trust of Nigerians, the entertainment industry featuring the likes of Tony Tetuila, The Remedies and The Plantashun Boiz, was the rave of the moment mix.

No one talked about the beauty industry. It was left bare, untapped. No one noticed or saw prospect in it except a 20 year-old law student, Tara, who at that time was juggling the demands of law school with an overlooked, untapped beauty business no one believed in. Then she launch her start up, house of Tara with little capital and of course no studio.

From Oprah Winfrey to Nigeria’s Folurusho Alakija every entrepreneur’s have experienced myriads of challenges while building their businesses. Ms Durotoye case was not different. In the beginning, the main challenge tempting to rip off her dream, her vision was getting a space to operate; a makeup studio that would see to the demands of customers. At first she started from her living room, a makeshift studio where she did test make up for her customers. Sometimes, she would go from house to house to do make up for brides until 1998 when she finally opened her first studio, a rented boy’s quarter.

“I rented a location because I felt a need that some of my brides coming to my home needed more privacy while I did their test makeup,” she said in an interview.

In 1999 she launched the first ever bridal directory and in 2005 she established the country’s first makeup school, launched the Tara Product line and hosted Nigeria’s first Make-up conference in 2014.


Close up: Who’s Tara Fela-Durotoye

Tara Fela-Durotoye is the Creative Director and CEO of House of Tara International. Aside from being a certified lawyer, she recognizes the need for self-improvement, updating herself in the beauty industry by pursuing a course tied to make up at Charles Fox, Convent Garden, London.

In the early months of the year, March, 6, 1977, Tara was born in Lagos into the family of John Ejegi Sagay and Felicia Omaghomi. She started her elementary education at Command Children School, Victoria Island and was offered admission at Nigeria Navy Secondary School, Ojo. From there she proceeded to Lagos State University where she bagged a degree in Law.

In a society where the quest for pursuing white collar job is rife, one would expect Mrs Tara to be in the chambers, pursuing a vision related to her course of study, law.

But she didn’t.

Today, House of Tara has built an empire in the beauty industry with franchise spread across Nigeria and West African countries of Senegal, Ghana and Benin Republic. She has won many awards and recognition including Forbes Young Power Women in Africa, the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, and the Future Awards Young Person of the Year and Young Entrepreneur of the Year among other awards.

In December 2016, she was recognized by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) as the Inspirational woman of the year. The award recognizes pacesetters in Lagos state irrespective of their tribes or ethnic affinities.

Her work and profile has been profiled on several international platforms including the New York Forum Africa (NYFA), France 24, Bloomberg and CNN African Voices, a weekly show that highlights Africa’s most engaging personalities.


House of Tara: More than a brand

Today, House of Tara International has become a household name in the developments of makeup, perfume and accessories created to meet the needs of Africa’s booming beauty market. With over 3,000 representatives and over 20 stores, House of Tara competes with international brands like MAC and Maybelline.

Furthermore, House of Tara brands promotes Nigeria’s culture and inspiration to young people. Mrs Fela Durotoye has gone beyond creating a unique brand to inspiring young African women. She believes African young women should be trained and mentored.

“For us, our brand is one that promotes our culture, ethnicity and language. It is also a brand that has empowered young women for financial independence,” she told Nigeria’s BusinessDay in an interview.

This birthed the Nigeria’s first make up school, the House of Tara Makeup School founded in 2007. The school has trained over 3,000 female graduates who are active players in African beauty industry.

Few years after establishing the Makeup school, Tara launched the Tara Product line, a brand that promotes ethics and ethnicity, by empowering young women for economic independence without moral compromise. The Tara Product line comprises a range of professional toolkit including eye shadows, eye liners, powders, lip gloss and foundation.

Beyond House of Tara Makeup School, Tara initiated the Tara Orekelewa beauty representative initiative. This initiative which seeks to make young women financially independent succeeded in empowering young ladies, about 4000 ladies in the tertiary institution.

Recently, she started the Tara Fela Durotoye series, a concept initiated by her mentor, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika. The series was inspired by the fact that Mrs Awosika had seen the impact that the time she’d spent with Ms Durotoye had, so, she felt that there is a need to mentor more young women—to shape their purpose in life, how to be successful at work, how to make the right choices for a spouse and tips on wealth creation and management.

“One of the greatest things about the TFD series is that we are “Paying it forward”. If you have attended in the past, you are encouraged to pass on the teachings to a group of younger women in your network to create a ripple effect,” she said in an interview last year.

Source:  LeadingLadies Africa

The United We Stand campaign is an effort to raise awareness about the rampant issue of counterfeiting, intellectual property theft and piracy in Nigeria.

Spread across many industries, it brings together all who continue to deal with these issues that not only affects their revenue, but also the purity and integrity of their hard work in creating their products.

Date: Friday, February 24th, 2017.
Time: 11.00 am.
Venue: Filmhouse Cinemas, off Bisola Durosinmi Etti Drive, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

Alongside renowned beauty entrepreneurs Tara Fela-Durotoye of House of Tara International and Oke Maduewesi of Zaron Cosmetics, members of the campaign collective include Funke Akindele-Bello, representing the entertainment industry and their struggle against intellectual property theft and illegal re-distribution; Temitayo Eyitayo of 24 Apparel standing in the gap for the producers of branded clothing and consumer goods fighting counterfeiting; Uzo Uzeoke sharing Emzor Pharmaceuticals’ battle against counterfeit medication and other products in the healthcare and wellness sector; and media entrepreneur Chude Jideonwo speaking on the widespread issue as it persists and affects us all across all sectors and social classes, both as creators and consumers.

The Hon. Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar will deliver the keynote address to social influencers, entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate body representatives, who have been invited to a stakeholder meeting towards finding a solution to these problems.

A moving documentary starring members of the campaign collective was directed by Kemi Adetiba and will also be screened at the meeting. In it, they recollect the journey from building their business to discovering their work is being illegally copied.

The campaign is a stand against injustice, imploring the Nigerian public to take the extra steps to preserve hard work and to ensure consumer safety. It is also a call for government and regulators to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, and to encourage a change in consumer behaviour.