By Kemi Mobuse - Sunday, December 30, 2018


Funmilola Abeke Olurinola is a Mass Communication graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State where her natural talent and genuine love for all things beauty-related led to her starting her salon business while still an undergraduate without any formal training. She is also a Goldman Sachs Scholar of EDS. Pan African University Lagos.

Popularly known by her traditional name: Abeke, Funmi is an Inventor and well-rounded Celebrity makeup artist with over thirteen years of experience in the beauty industry who has revolutionized the world of beauty with her solutions-based approach to her work. This is evident in her creation of autogele; a solution to the age-long challenge of Gele tying in the African beauty terrain, thereby making her the inventor of the now popular Autogele.

Abeke views her work as an art form and it’s this principle that drives a signature style that is Feminine and looks effortlessly natural while still staying in line with modern styles. She gives the most enlightening beauty consultations and creates timeless looks gorgeous enough to be framed for clients from all walks of life.

An award-winning makeup artist, an astute teacher, and a beauty professional in the truest sense of the word, Abeke is a seasoned expert in the areas of providing all makeup and hairstyling services for Bridal Events, Tv, commercials, and photography purposes, while still maintaining her position as the head of the first and best autogele production company.

In her interview with Kemi Mobuse for Onigele blog, Abeke walked us through her journey in the industry, her craft, and how it came to be.... excerpts from the interview are below........

Kemi Mobuse: Can we get to know you?

Abeke Makeovers: My name is Funmilola Irantiola Olurinola (Mrs), the MD and CEO of Abeke Makeovers ltd. We provide various kinds of beauty services which include but not limited to bridal Makeup, bridal hair, beauty consultation and autogele manufacturing. We are the brain behind the innovation of auto gele.

Kemi Mobuse: We recognize that you are also a professional and talented makeup artist, how do you combine makeup with auto gele services?

Abeke Makeovers: Everything in life is about balance; I have learned that I need to choose my battles wisely, I for one usually schedule my days ahead with my diary. It helps me to review and hone my daily to-do list as well as help me prioritize when it comes to my clients.
To me, every client is important irrespective of status, and this is why over time, i have developed a loyal following among them.
I believe your character and your relationship with your clients will determine if you will have them as repeat customers and if they will recommend you to other people.

Kemi Mobuse: How did you come about the idea of automated gele and what sets your brand apart from other headgear brands?

Abeke Makeovers: It wasn’t that I specifically came up with the idea of auto gele out of the blues. I have been a makeup artist and offering gele services for a while but at a point I got fed up of seeing the same gele style being used irrespective of the occasions. For instance, imagine  the generational gap between a 22 year old bride and a 70 year old Grandma, we usually end up tying the same styles for them both due to lack of variations.

Being the proactive person I am however, I started thinking of what I could do that is different from the usual but still appear stylish, unique and beautiful. To start with, I started switching up the styles of my more matured Clients by tilting it to the side or moving it forward a bit all the while working with the same common gele pattern.

I made finding a solution to the lack of gele variations my intention; after I watched a TV programme. Soon enough, the opportunity to showcase what I came up with; came in form of a call from a wedding magazine. They wanted me to make up and tie gele for a celebrity they were featuring on their cover on the occasion of their 10th Anniversary.

I saw this as a challenge which I readily took up. On the D-day, we did the whole shoot and everything went very well. Once the shoot was done, I asked the celebrity in question if I could try a new gele style on her. She readily agreed and I tied what later became known as the “Abeke Gele” on her head. Everyone loved it, but I knew my work was not done. I wanted the gele to be durable and stay perfect throughout the whole day. I had to go back to the basics and come up with a way to make it better.

Later on, when orders starting coming in from abroad and knowing I have no control over how the outcome will be when it is not properly done especially when tied, I knew I had to come up with something better, like a hat that you use over and over again.

So I came up with the idea of using a Velcro strap in the gele. This took us about 4 months of going back and forth and some extra fine tuning before we finally got it right. This is not to say, we are resting on our oars. We will continually look for ways to still make the auto gele the best there is anywhere.

What sets us apart is our Innovativeness. We always show our clients that: whenever our services are hired, we always go out of our way to make sure that we make everything work; this includes providing quick solutions to any issues or challenges that may arise.
Basically, all these boils down to us giving our clients the very best value for what he/she paid.

Kemi Mobuse:  Tell us about the making process of Abeke auto gele and what is the estimated production time frame?

Abeke Makeovers: Normally, it takes about 5-7 days before the gele is ready for the client to pick up after they must have placed the order.

The actual making of the Gele like the sourcing for and selection of the gele fabrics as well as the application of some form of embellishments (if requested by the client) usually takes about 3-4 days. 

But because of previous outstanding orders which may have been on ground before the new order, we usually give our clients the option of 5-7 days to ensure that, we don’t over-promise and then under-deliver.

Kemi Mobuse:  What are some of the challenges that you faced and did you overcome them?

Abeke Makeovers: Ideally, most makeup artists worldwide are freelance who may not be signed to any company, or have a studio. In those situations, their profits go directly to them.

However, when Makeup came to Nigeria, we treated it like a business, in that; one needs to rent an office space, a location where your clients can come to be made up. There, you will be asked to pay rent for a full 365 days, but unfortunately, you only get to use it on an average of 120 days in a year…being that most Owambe parties are usually on Thursdays and Saturdays, inclusive of the occasional clients that drop by to get their makeup done. All in all, you get to use the shop only for 120 days in a year. That means, the yearly rent on its own has already eaten up a large chunk of whatever profit you’ve made.

This same situation applies to me and I rectified it by changing my business operating model to an online shop where people have easy access to me once my services are required.
Lack of constant Electricity is another major challenge. One tends to end up spending a fortune on generators and fuel.

I learnt that if you calm down and think clearly, you will realize that there is always a solution within the challenges you are facing.

Kemi Mobuse:  Who are your clientele base, how would you describe them and for what occasion?

Abeke Makeovers: My client bases are ladies from all walks of life, who appreciate the real essence of makeup and what it stands for.

Our market is not limited to a particular set of people from a specific place/country, we have people who always want to wear gele for all of their events but have no idea how to tie one, or like on Sundays, when there is no makeup artist available to tie their geles, they just wear their auto gele and they are good to go. We also have clients travelling abroad for events, or those who resides abroad; who doesn’t have the luxury of having a makeup artist at their beck and call, in this case, auto gele is their best option.

We also have people who buy from us  just to have a feel of what autogele is and how it works.

We just recently came up with our autogeles being used by bridal trains during the traditional wedding; we also have packages for spouses; we do filas for the men while doing geles for their wives. In brief, our services cover all occasions that requires a gele being used.

Kemi Mobuse:  What (or who) inspires your work? Do you have sources that you go to for "creative recharging"?

Abeke Makeovers: I get inspired by everything and everywhere. I draw inspiration from what we have done before.  I am also my own inspiration, I tend to look within to find inspiration within myself.  For creative recharging, I always go back to my source; God. I meditate as well as do Yoga.

Kemi Mobuse:  What do you love most about your brand and do you have a favorite piece from your collections?

Abeke Makeovers: Like I said before, our selling point which I love most is our Innovativeness and the fact that we are always coming up with something new; we are always ahead and proffering solutions. In 2009/10, we held the first master class, where we taught makeup artists about highlighting & contouring.

Then, we also came up with autogele by Abeke. We were able to find a solution to gele tying and the stress it brings. It is inspiring to know that, you can easily achieve that regal look within a minute, without worrying about Oga driving off and leaving you behind or you getting frustrated and ruining all your makeup because you wanted to tie Gele.

No, no favourite. All my pieces are specially created, so I love them all.

Kemi Mobuse:  I assume your geles are bespoke but, do you also retail?

Abeke Makeovers: Yes, the majority of our geles are bespoke; we create based on order and requests made. We tailor it to clients’ specific instructions and preferences. We also sell to people who want to buy and then retail, to make orders they can contact us via our contact details.

Kemi Mobuse: What is in the future for your brand and are you experimenting on anything?

Abeke Makeovers: If you follow us, you will always be the first to know as our plans unfold. So please watch our social media pages!

Kemi Mobuse:  What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned and would pass along to others just getting started in your field?

Abeke Makeovers: As much as you own your talent, you also need to work on your character, because talent will take you places, but it is character that will keep you there.

Put love in everything you do, don’t ever work just to make money, have passion for what you do. When you do that, money will always find you.

Maintain your human relationships with your clients and nurture it.  That is the only way to get them to come back and also refer you to other people.

Most importantly, put God first and always consult him for all decisions.

Kemi Mobuse:  How can people who want your Geles get to contact you?

Abeke Makeovers: They can call/WhatsApp us on: 08023772906, 08066896259.
Follow us on Instagram on @abekemakeovers and @autogelebyabeke
Check our Website:
And please be informed that we ship worldwide.

Kemi Mobuse: Thank YOU for your enlightening interview, most importantly for your time!😊

Abeke Makeovers: Thank You too and keep up the good work.👌

Check out more of Abeke's amazing works below:


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