22 March, 2018. Samoa – The journey of life is full of surprises. For Tamarini Mauafu, that saying rings loud and clear every time she picks up a makeup brush.
Four years ago, the 22 year-old embarked on what seemed to be an ordinary trip to undertake her studies at Wellington’s Victoria University.
Little did she know, three years on, she would not only return to Samoa with a BA in Public Policy Development, but also a new found passion for makeup, marking the beginning of her business – Glam Rini.
Today, Tamarini balances entrepreneurship with full-time employment as a Foreign Services Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Speaking to Samoa Planet, she opened up about the rewards, challenges and the irony of managing a Makeup business in Samoa.
“Makeup was just a hobby, something that I only became interested in during my second year of studies.” she said.
“Back then, I’d just buy some drugstore makeup and attempt some of the tutorials I watched on YouTube. I was never a makeup person, I wasn’t even allowed to wear it as I was growing up, and so entering into a business venture where I am surrounded by makeup is so ironic.”
As her passion for make up grew, a realisation dawned on her.
She explained, “As a broke University student, I started off with cheap products, but when I tried to recreate the looks I had seen on YouTube, it didn’t come out anywhere near it. That’s when I realised that maybe I should invest more on better products, good quality products.”
It wasn’t until she was set to return to Samoa that the idea of a business hit her, “Because I was ordering online a lot, I’d have foundations that would arrive and wouldn’t match my skin tone, and they wouldn’t even match my room mates skin tones, so I couldn’t give them away. I had this massive collection, so I thought ‘Oh well, why not? Why don’t I try this in Samoa?”
One year later, Glam Rini is a household name with hundreds of followers over various social media platforms. However, Tamarini hasn’t allowed that to shift her focus away from her career goals.
She explained, “I think Glam Rini is more so a hobby at this point in time. I’ve read up on some of our local Make Up Artists and most of them have these big visions.”
With a laugh she added, “I think I’m too busy trying to write file notes for the Government of Samoa, so I don’t have a huge vision.”
“At the moment, there’s no intention of making Glam Rini my day-to-day job, I don’t think I could afford to, but it’s been really fun and interesting having it as a side business. At work things can get so technical, so it’s great when someone calls in for a booking. I always look forward to glamming up a client and making them feel their best.”
Tamarini’s parents pastor at a church in Iva, Savaii. During her times with her parents, she says that her relatives playfully joke about the whole idea of a makeup business. With a grin she said, “I come from a very typical Samoan family, which means that they are supportive in their own way. Many of my friends from school can’t believe that I’m doing what I do; never in my wildest dreams did I think I would.”
With each client, especially girls who book for prom or end of year balls, Tamarini is reminded of her own school prom. As she reminisces of the challenges she encountered, she laughed and said, “You know my school had standards.”
“When I had my prom in 2012, other girls were getting their full face of makeup and hairstyles, but I still remember having to save up the $30tala just to get my hair done at a hair salon in town.
“I think I just wore some lipstick and that was it, so when I ventured into Glam Rini, I wanted to be that makeup artist that was approachable and affordable, someone who girls like myself, could feel comfortable with.”
“I think that’s what I love about the art, it’s the fact that I see a lot of girls who have ‘saved up for it’- and the fact that they are coming to me, allowing me to make them feel good – is totally worth it, that’s the best part of this job.”
“Some of them are wary about looking too over the top, but I always encourage them, promising that they will look fine. Part of having clients, allows me to expose them to the logic behind Makeup by enhancing their natural features and the natural beauty we all have.”
“During this year with the art, I’ve learnt a lot, and if anything, I’ve learnt that not every make up look, looks good for every face. We are all diverse in our facial features and beauty, so what looks good on one girl may not look as good on another. You know, not every girl needs a full face of contouring and wispy lashes, it’s all about playing up your features.”
Looking forward to growing in her career as a public servant, she said, “Right now, my goal is to build up my expertise in my field- in trade, and at least, become articulate in the work language. After graduating, I came from writing essays to writing about tariffs, subsidies and trade agreements.”
“Sometimes it’s challenging but I’m aiming to understand the dynamics of the trading environment worldwide and see just how Samoa can be a part of that.”
“My MFAT colleagues are extremely hard workers and much of the work ethic I’ve learned there is something I bring back with me for my clients. As a makeup artist, don’t ever be the reason why your client is late. A great work ethic is something I want to live by, so when clients book with me, they can have confidence in that.”
For more information or to make a booking, check out Glam Rini on Facebook @GlamRini or Instagram @glam_rini.
Reporter with Samoa Planet.