After 27 years building a successful cosmetics brand in the United States, Liberian-born entrepreneur Maisie Dunbar, founder and CEO of the BluffaJo Cosmetics line, has set her sights on her home country to launch her award winning products.
“BluffaJo,” like the name Dunbar perhaps, is unmistakably Liberian. Nowhere else in the world do people use the term which describes a woman who is fashionable, sophisticated, intelligent and confident, among other fine qualities. Aiming to express these qualities and more, this is a homecoming of sorts for the brand born in exile and named in honor of the many Liberian women who defined it.
Dunbar, a renowned skin-care expert, makeup artist and a single mother, said her being in Liberia is not just to launch her products, but to also to teach other Liberians who are passionate to venture into the cosmetics business. In addition to being a mentor to today’s up and coming skin-care professionals, she is a licensed makeup artist and has been a celebrity nail and body therapist in the industry.
During a PowerPoint presentation at the launch of the product at a resort in Congo Town, Ms. Dunbar told the audience that she grew up in a family with an entrepreneurship background where her aunt, cousin and father were all serious about doing business.
Her aunt, Sophie Dunbar, founded the famous Sophie’s Ice Cream enterprise in Congo Town, Monrovia. Sophie’s Ice Cream was so successful that, long after it was destroyed during the Liberian civil conflict, the location remained a landmark – Sophie’s Junction and Sophie’s Road.
Maisie Dunbar attended Fame School of Nails Design and secured her license as a manicurist to do her own nails.
“When I got out of Nails School, I was just terrible because the only things I could do were manicure and pedicure and with the spirit of the Dunbar family they don’t want for anything to hold us as a challenge,” she said.
“My mother was my rock and I think quite a few people in here know my father, Cllr. Dunbar, who was an honest man and a serious spirit of excellence and I think that is something that resonates in my blood.
“And my hope, my faith in God, my courage is all of those things that brought me a mighty-mighty long way,” she said. “I will never give up, because failure is not an option for me.”
According to her, she is passionate about bringing out the best beauty traits in her clients. She therefore educated herself extensively in her craft so that she can ensure the best ingredients go into her products and is knowledgeable of their benefits in everyday skincare.
Now being a “go-to” for celebrities for beauty tips, Dunbar said her journey was not an easy one, where she struggled to make it better for herself and didn’t just happen for her overnight.
In 2006, she said she decided to establish her own makeup line entitled Bluffa Jo Cosmetics in Silver Spring, Maryland in the United States.
BluffaJo products are sold primarily from the Maisie Dunbar Spa Lounge, a fashion, beauty and wellness business where she does most of her work from. She, along with her team of experts, continues to offer the best in original beauty treatment and holistic health care innovations at her spa lounge.
Dunbar is currently exploring distribution opportunities for BluffaJo in the Liberian market. The cosmetics line also has a strong presence in Ghana, making it easy and affordable to be available in Liberia locally.
Inspired to create her brand as she studied the connection between fashion and beauty and how it related to everyday life, this bonafide BluffaJo now wears many hats with grace. Her handiwork and BluffaJo has been featured in reputable industry magazines, on stage, CD covers, advertising campaigns,’ television, and other media outlets.