Bilikisu Balogun is the founder of M.U.A. Central, an online platform that’s designed to act like a search engine where users can search for and hire beauty artisans including makeup artists, hair stylists and nail technicians.
Essentially, Bili has created every woman’s dream scenario—an on-demand, on-the-go, beauty service.
With almost four thousand young, tech savvy Instagram followers alone, the beauty tech startup’s services are in high demand.
But what makes M.U.A. Central a unique service is their commitment to provide the same high level of quality and professional artists, stylists and technicians for all women—no matter the skin colour.
In fact, it was this pain point of not being able to find a proper makeup professional for herself that the idea of M.U.A. Central emerged.
“I have made sure that across all of my platforms and social media, I build a brand that is accommodating and representative of most and eventually, all women.”
Please enjoy 10 Questions with Bilikisu Balogun, the founder of M.U.A. Central.
1. In the beginning, what motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
I sort of became an entrepreneur by accident. Actually, when I was looking to start the business back in March 2015, I was only 19 and I’m pretty sure I didn’t know how glorified entrepreneurship was.
I created M.U.A. Central from the need to find an artist that represented me and was flexible to my style and budget.
On my 19th birthday, I tried finding a make up artist on Instagram but found myself drowned in thousands of posts and essentially overwhelmed.
I then tried to use some of the existing booking platforms and noticed a few things: I didn’t see the artist’s portfolio on these pages, I hardly saw any reviews and most importantly, I was underrepresented as a black woman. Most looks didn’t look like me.
Ever since, I have made sure that across all of my platforms and social media, I build a brand that is accommodating and representative of most and eventually, all women.
2. What problem are you solving?
Millennial women have become busier, but also more social after realizing the power of networking and building solid relationships.
More than ever, events and exclusive socials have become more accessible to my generation and millennial women are present. They want to be seen and they want to stand out.
M.U.A. Central offers mobile beauty services that are convenient and quality services for our tech-savvy clients who are accustomed to using on demand services like Uber and Foodora.
M.U.A. Central is giving back to millennial’s the long waits at salons, while offering better quality service, in the comfort of their home, work, event space, etc.
3. What’s the biggest thing you struggle with as an entrepreneur?
Like many business owners, I struggle to remain motivated when things do not seem very promising—when partnerships don’t produce fruitful business or when we aren’t converting as I would like.
Reminding myself of how far I have come and what the future will hold always helps me refocus and remain calm.
4. What is the best thing that’s happened in your business so far?
I’ve had many ecstatic moments but I genuinely love connecting and speaking with my customers and supporters.
Events where I am given the opportunity to meet and speak with people who are interested and believe in the business (and especially my first year anniversary), always produce the best moments.
5. What is one challenge in your business that you did not anticipate?
I had a very bad experience with an inexperienced developer who I trusted based off intuition and mere promises.
I didn’t vet them by a professional or anything of that sort and the consequences were pretty bad.
They delayed my website development and stretched it for over 6 months, only to end up quitting on me and making me lose a lot of time and resources.
For someone who funds her business out of pocket, it was a very hard blow because I put a lot of my money into my business. I really believe in it that much.
6. What advice would you give to another person wanting to start their own business?
• Things happen for a reason. To either make you win or teach you a lesson. Nothing is a loss.
• Remain level-headed. Be more strategic than passionate about what you do, because you will get lost in passion with no direction if you have no strategy.
• Your obstacles are telling you what way to go. Listen to them.
• Lessons are expensive but priceless. Better now than never.
• Money is fickle. It comes and it goes. You can make it back almost as fast as you lose it.
• With a lot of positive thinking, controlling your mind and a solid support system, you can overcome your challenges.
7. How does your culture/background influence your work?
Entrepreneurship is something I grew up with without really knowing. My parents are both business owners and I didn’t know how much that influenced me until every struggle I faced resonated with conversations my parents had about their struggles in business.
I’m heavily influenced by my parent’s work ethic. They work harder than anyone I know. My dad has never worked for anyone in his life, which is really cool.
My mom recently told me that when I was going into kindergarten, my parents didn’t know how they would afford such an expensive school (it was probably about $500 at the time).
But year after year, they found a way to pay my tuition and are now able to fund my education at the University of Toronto as an International Student.
I even find admin work a breeze since my dad used to have me filling out invoices in the evening after dinner. It was annoying at the time, but it has definitely paid off.
8. How do you unwind and relax after a long, busy day?
I don’t really do anything special to be honest. I usually just take a long shower and watch Netflix until I fall sleep.
If it’s an extremely stressful day, I take a bath, watch a show and drink some white wine. Aside from that, I keep it simple!
9. What do you consider to be a life well-lived?
I want to be able to shift my mind completely into thinking about how I can serve others, so every time I meet someone, I’m asking myself how can I help them rather than what they can do for me.
A life well-lived for me would be a life of servitude, a life spent being intentional about my actions, friendships and relationships.
10. How do you want people to remember you?
I want to be remembered as someone who took the hand that she was dealt with and used it to change her life—to better other people’s lives.
I want to impact people’s hearts in the sense that how deep I was able to serve them— transform their lives and help them to serve others as well.