CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
WHAT started as a mere hobby has today blossomed into a successful business for Zion Phiri, chief executive officer of Zionyt Beauty Spa.Through beautifying people’s faces, Zion, a marketing and project management professional, now employs other people.
Zion’s love for art and make-up started at the age of six when her mother regularly dolled up her face for fun.
Whilst at school, she took art as one of her subjects from sixth to 12th grade until her passion blossomed into a career.
She spent time reading about beauty and make up artistry and began perfecting her skill by practising on her sisters and friends.
Zion began to prosper in her skill and later quit her formal employment to follow her passion and to become her own boss.
For Zion, make up artistry is “giving breath to beauty”.
“Every face of a client is different,” she says. “Be it in shape, colour, texture and more, each face has a vision, an opinion, and a story to tell,” explains the 26-year-old.
“Each face must be specially prepared and painted to create a customised and extremely beautiful outcome. In make-up artistry, no face is exactly like another. That is what makes it so interesting and exciting. I just love it,” says Zion.
She has added hair styling and eye lash installation to her skills, although her true love resided in make-up and so she refined her skills and broadened her make up experiences.
“I started Zionyt in 2015 and my first client was a friend of mine and workmate who believed in me. She paid K20 for the service but today, I charge K250 for a facial,” says Zion.
Initially, she only offered facial make up services, but her business has grown and is now also offering massage, manicure and pedicure, nails, eyelash installation and photography services.
“I love [the fact] that I am my own boss and I am able to handle finances on my own. I love that I make decisions and get to ask as many questions and get advice from people who inspire me,” she says.
In 2016, Zion decided to expand her career as a freelance make-up artist to accommodate her growing clientele.
She took a step further in May 2017 when she launched the Zionyt Make up Academy which had 35 students.
Zion conducted a make-up seminar for fellow artists and clients and has continued to train young women in this regard.
“I have worked with many talented photographers, videographers, agency represented models, and artistes such as rapper Bombshell , song bird Wezi, T-Sean, Mumba Yachi, HPJ photography and NXT Solutions, among others,” she says.
Zion has also made a name for herself in the bridal makeup industry by creating beautifully timeless looks for her brides and wedding parties as well as photo shoots and graduations.
She still dreams big.
“I want to go very far in my business. I would like to have many employees and empower young people as well as inspire them to create their own businesses,” says Zion.
For Zion, becoming an entrepreneur is one of the best decisions she has ever made.
“Being an entrepreneur allows you to see life in a whole different perspective because experiencing profits and losses help you to strategise,” she says.
“It makes you learn, grow and reach your potential unlike working for a company which determines how far you go because you fly according to how much work you put in,” Zion explains.
She says the bad part about being in formal employment is that sometimes one can be an excellent performer but if the ladder in the company is very difficult to climb, they might remain in the same place for a very long time.
Zion is passionate about succeeding and is driven by the fact that she likes to work hard for what she wants.
“I hate poverty and lack. I have so many young people who look up to me and I must make history and end poverty in my sphere,” she says.
Apart from make-up artistry, Zion is also a gospel music artiste, vocalist and song writer.
She is a born-again Christian, raised and trained in scripture and in the ways of God through Gospel Envoys Church.
Zion ministers as a singer, praise and worship leader and has served as music department manager at church branch level.
Her late mother used to sing in church and that is where she drew her inspiration.
“I started to sing when I was still very young in church. In 2012, I recorded my first single called Am on fire although I kept it,” she explains.
Zion later released her first song titled Let it go on the market in 2016 which competed so well with other gospel songs.
“I was inspired by the massive airplay so I did my second single called I am here and it has also been playing on various radio stations,” she says.
She is currently working on an album.
Zion pursued marketing at Evelyn Hone College as well as a certificate in Project Management at the University of Zambia.
She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in law at Cavendish University.
“I attribute my success to both my parents who believed so much in me and still do. I have been encouraged by my pastor, my elder brother, sisters and my mentor Felix Banda,” she says.
Zion’s advice to youths is for them to discover what they are good at and thrive in it.
“When you have set your target, you will be able to achieve it by being passionate and being diligent in your work. Pursue excellence always,” she says.