Freshman starts Nigerian-inspired makeup business that caters to Black women

Angelica Arinze

Business freshman Kachi Akamelu said her love affair with makeup began at 16 in the Walmart makeup aisle.

“My mom (and I) would be in the store for like 30 minutes trying out different colors and researching brands that are good for Black skin tones,” Akamelu said.

When she started watching more makeup tutorials on YouTube and Instagram, Akamelu said the art spoke to her. 

As her passion and skills for makeup grew, she was later able to land her first unofficial client. 

“One of my childhood friends asked me, ‘Can you do my makeup?’ but I had never done makeup for another person before,” Akamelu said. “I spent all day doing her makeup. It was really makeshift. I had a lamp and a couple of brushes, but I still made it work.”

People then began asking her to do their makeup for prom. Akamelu turned the hobby into a business, named AdéGalore.

“I just really liked the essence of it, transforming somebody else and then seeing the reaction after they get their makeup done,” Akamelu said. 

Akamelu meets clients in their homes and offers a variety of makeup services that range from $30 for a simple “Soft Glam” to $50 for a more elaborate, glamorous beat for Houston clients. 

Akamelu’s decision to name her business Adé Galore stems from her Nigerian roots. The word “Adé” means royalty in Yoruba, and “galore” means full of, which she said reflects her business’s philosophy of self-confidence and high self-esteem.

“(Beauty is) more than just looks,” Akamelu said. “It’s more something that you radiate in your aura — that you can be beautiful and you also have a kind heart.”

Akamelu said she wants to use her makeup business to foster a more inclusive space on campus for Black women to get their makeup done. Shareefa Gyami, one of Akamelu’s clients and an international relations and global studies freshman, said businesses such as Adé Galore enrich UT’s tight-knit Black student community.

“I like to support Black businesses because it truly is the only option (for us) when it comes to beauty services,” Gyami said.

Akamelu’s makeup looks have also gained popularity on social media, with one of her tutorials posted in December 2019 amassing over 16,000 views on Twitter.

Adaria Blackwell, a nursing freshman at Chicago State University, has known Akamelu since middle school and believes her business is making a positive impact in the community.

“Seeing students my age and color willing to bring positive energy throughout the Black community is inspiring and powerful,” Blackwell said. “I truly believe that what Kachi and all the other business women are doing is helping to advance the Black community in the direction it needs to go.”

Akamelu said  Adé Galore not only helped her create an impact in the community but has also aided her in her own personal growth. She said both doing makeup and watching other beauty gurus has allowed her to become more confident and prioritize her self-care. 

“I used to be the person that couldn’t walk out of the house without makeup,” Akamelu said. “People like Jackie Aina and Beauty With Melissa definitely inspired me to always go in with my race in mind and to just have pride in my complexion and to have that and be able to promote that beauty to other Black women as well.”