Ngodoo Tough, Founder Of She & More – Part One
My name is Ngodoo Tough and I am a graduate of Political Science from the prestigious Benue State University. Some of the words friends and family have used to describe me are; tall, attractive, lovable, optimistic, intuitive, supportive, protagonistic, intelligent, and goal-oriented. I’m 30 years old, I hail from Konshisha Local Government Area in Benue State, Nigeria. I was born into the family of Lahave Mathias Acha, a family of five children. I’m the third girl and the fourth child of my mother, with older siblings and a younger sister. Both parents and siblings are alive. I am a Christian, a true worshipper and a lover of God. I got married when I was 19 years old, in my second year at Benue State University. I am married to Mr Benjamin Tough who is from the Buruku Local Government Area of Benue State and together we raise two lovely kids (boy and girl).
Before the birth of my second baby, Fanen, my husband challenged me with a question, I quote, “What can you even do apart from dancing?!” This played on my mind. The birth of my child affected my spinal cord and almost took my life, but still, soon after the birth, I enrolled on a makeup class with a friend and paid her for two weeks of training as I could not afford a professional makeup school. I couldn’t practice as I didn’t have the materials required for this purpose. My friend allowed me to use her products twice and then I had to watch while others were practising and learning. It was a trying moment for me to take classes with a two-month-old baby. I had to take extra doses of painkillers to keep fit. After a week of my training, my friend got mobilized for NYSC and she left immediately. That was the painful end of my training session.
I became a liar and would not even take calls, couldn’t visit social media because I was mocked and bullied. I was broken, disappointed, embarrassed and at this point I couldn’t even renew the shop rent so I had to pack up.
I was extremely disappointed. I had to think deeply and go inward to find peace. It was time to save money and buy makeup products so I could practice on my own. With the help of my mother and sister I got what I needed and began practising on my face and my baby’s face which didn’t go well my husband and in-laws. I stopped and started watching YouTube makeup videos and continued practising myself. I became so good at it that soon enough people were asking if I could make them up as well. I got really excited when my sister-in-law would travel from Lafia to Makurdi just for makeup, Wow!
My courage and self-esteem developed as I walked up to intending brides and asked if I could make them up for their weddings. One obliged and I was paid 10k which I used to buy more products. It was at this point that my husband started believing in me as a makeup artist and that I could actually do something else other than dancing… hahaha…
My first big job as a makeup artist
Finally, I got a breakthrough in makeup when I got a contract to train with Nigerian Airforce Officers Wives Association (NAFOWA). This opportunity helped to build my confidence as a person and as a make-up artist. Meeting with big women, and high-level personnel who looked to me for knowledge and believed so much in me! I was paid 50k for that contract. It was an eye-opener for me that I can do and be more than who I ever thought I could be. Did I forget to mention that I was supposed to assist the lady that was initially contracted to do the job? She was paid more than a million naira by the organizers and made me do the whole job while she was nowhere to be found. I did the work and the organisers loved and appreciated me for it. I was offered a job to oversee the remaining 35 states including FCT, but because of my family I couldn’t accept the offer and I lost out completely. Fortunately, I was able to use the money I got to register as a Zaron distributor and it was the best thing to happen during that time. I went from not having any makeup products to having a big box filled with only Zaron products and my business as a professional make-up artist was ready to take off.
Getting into debt
Shortly after launching as a professional make-up artist, I was mobilized for NYSC and posted to three different organizations and ministries. I got rejected so I had no option but to work my posting at a salon where I met so many beautiful and wonderful women, they added value to my life and I learnt more skills. I met a woman that loved me so much and my hard work, selflessness and cheerfulness. She picked me up as her personal makeup artist, and in the second year, she saw how good I was and that all I needed to become great was a support/extra push to establish a place of my own. She then gave me a startup capital of 1 million Naira to return after a year of business. At this point, my joy knew no bounds (2018 was my best year as a makeup artist).
Other inspiring stories
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I started my beauty palace and employed 2 official workers. While I handled the face beat, my staff worked on my clients’ hair. The makeup was doing so well but the hairdressing was falling off balance. So I had to pay my staff and other expenditure from the money I was making. I was so good that I met with the high and mighty in the state. God blessed me with a very big client that I wouldn’t want to mention here. With all these successes, I still couldn’t get up to a million to pay off my loan. That was the beginning of my downfall. This woman made my life a living hell with police threats and calls. Then my real nightmare started. Looking for money to pay back became a problem, and to cut the whole story short, I got duped in the process of looking for some money to pay the woman in question. I got into a bad deal out of desperation and borrowed more money just to pay 10% upfront for a loan to pay her the money. At this time my marriage was hitting the rocks and so was my business. I lost 800k, couldn’t pay 1 million loan, lost my business, clients everything. This was a trying state of my life.
Depression set in. I became a liar and would not even take calls, couldn’t visit social media because I was mocked and bullied. I was broken, disappointed, embarrassed and at this point I couldn’t even renew the shop rent so I had to pack up. At this time, no business, no clients, no money but I had a dept of 1.8 million to pay off. At this point, my father sold a piece of land and gave me 1 million naira to pay my debt and I had 800k pending which took me years to actually pay off.
While at home, I got a call from Benue Television Makurdi to be their makeup artist, but I took so much courage to pick up their call as I was still in debt and was scared to take calls from unknown numbers.
Today, I am a staff of Benue Television not just as a makeup artist but I have also built and capacitated over the years as a producer, presenter, actor, choral singer, and the founder of She & More Women Development Initiative and She & More TV. My experience at Benue Television will be a story for another day.