With Ade Hassan
Founder of Nubian Skin
A chat with our 2018 gala dinner Keynote Speaker, Ade Hassan, founder of Nubian Skin.
q: How does it feel to know that you have had such a positive impact on the lives of women of colour who before Nubian Skin had so few lingerie and hosiery options?
a: We get some lovely e-mails from people saying ‘thank you’ for creating something for them. It’s incredibly fulfilling to know that Nubian Skin has had such a positive impact.
q: What a year 2017 was for you. Last November you were awarded an MBE by Prince William for services to fashion. You also attended the Ebony Power 100 awards in LA last December, having been chosen as one of the top entrepreneurs of the year. How did it feel to receive such recognition?
a: Thank you! It was an honour and also a huge surprise! I really was surprised when I received the letter about the MBE as it was completely out of the blue. Last year was a very challenging year, so receiving the honour from the queen meant a lot, and the Ebony Power 100 award was a cherry on the top. As the owner of a small, independent brand, it was an incredible validation of what I’m trying to do, and I feel so fortunate and very grateful for all the people who have supported my vision.
q: You seem to have successfully conquered the UK and USA market. Where to next and what do you have in store for Nubian Skin and for us as consumers?
a: We’re definitely still working hard to make our mark on the US and UK markets, but we also realise there are many markets we haven’t tapped into yet, so we’ll be focusing on an intelligent approach to broaden our footprint.
Q: As a business owner, what have been some of your greatest challenged to date and has there been specific challenges that you have faced because of your race or gender? How did you overcome them?
a: I don’t think I’ve experienced any challenges specifically because of my race or gender. Being an entrepreneur is just sheer hard work, so it’s always going to be challenging. When I started off, the largest challenge was where to get started as the lingerie industry wasn’t one that I was at all familiar with. Now that I’m running a business, cash-flow, motivation and the need to stay focused and dedicated are all constant challenges.
Q: Has technology influenced the way you do business? If so, please explain.
a: Social media played a great part in getting the word out initially and has helped us to grow our brand, learn about our customers and form a community. Given the majority of our business is online, technology is huge for us.
Q: Given that both your parents are successful business people, how much of an inspiration have they been to you?
a: My parents are the reason I have accomplished anything that I have. Throughout my life, they have been my largest inspirations and some of my biggest champions. I can’t really express what I owe to them adequately.
Q: If you could impart one piece of advice to someone considering creating their own business, what would it be?
a: Firstly, It’s really important to research your idea to make sure that whatever it is, it’s valid. Make sure you really believe in the idea especially if you’re working in another job. If you’re up at 4:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. working on this, then you want to believe in it. You also need to be willing to work really hard. Everybody who is going to start something anticipates that it’s going to be difficult, and that it’s going to be hard, but it will be so much more difficult and so much harder than you can prepare yourself for. And also – have faith in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will?
Q: Please share with us, something about you that is not readily known.
a: When I was younger I used to do a lot of musical theatre!
Q: As you know, we are so excited to have you as our Keynote Speaker at the 2018 Skin I'm In Galla. This will be your first trip to the land down under and we are curious to know what you are looking forward to the most about your trip to Australia.
a: It’s snowing right now in London, so I’m definitely looking forward to the weather! I’ve never been to Australia, so I’m looking forward to exploring and learning more about Melbourne – do you have kangaroos??
Join us and Ade Hassan at the Skin I'm In 2018 Gala Dinner. Tickets can be purchased here.