Emeline Talks to Ade of Nubian Skin

By Emeline Nsingi Nkosi

Nubian Skin’s Ade Hassan speaks to Emeline about her journey, what it means to be a young British brand conquering the American market and how she may just have to hide her in a box if she spills the goss on the projects up her sleeve.

Ade and Emeline

Ade and Emeline

How did you start your brand?

Goodness, so it seems like forever now but I came up with the concept in 2011 mainly out of frustration. I’ve always wanted to go into a shop and ask for a nude bra and I’d be given one but it was never quite right. Coincidentally, I’d always wanted to do something in fashion and the idea kind of popped into my head. I remember sending a text to a friend saying I figured out what I want to do when I grow up.

How did you move from idea to conception?

I changed jobs in 2013 and went back into finance because I needed to raise money. I remember getting a little bit distracted and I got a card from one of my friends which said “it’s time to start living the life you’ve always imagined” and put this lovely message in it about how she loved my idea and knew it was going to be a massive success. Literally the next day I registered the company, registered the trademarks, fast forward a year and a half and we launched.thandiekay.com

What is it like being a British brand doing well in the US?

It was such a shock because when the image of the four girls went viral, it put us on the map and it’s been onwards and upwards since then. To this day I am still in shock. We’re getting so much love from the US, like so much, people thought we were an American brand. It must have been because of the bloggers and generally everybody reposting and reblogging the campaign. It built into such a huge movement in America, Nordstrom approached us and wanted to stock the brand which is phenomenal as they are THE department store to be stocked in.

What have been the challenges?

Oh my gosh, so many. As a small brand at the beginning it was about finding a manufacturer especially as I hadn’t worked in this industry. I had no idea how it worked so that was probably the biggest challenge.

How did you overcome it?

I found a consultant who had worked in the industry for over 20 years andthandiekay.com having an expert to help made all the difference. Paying for really good advice was the best decision I ever made.

Do you have any advise for anyone starting out?

Work out what you can or can’t do yourself and where you need experts. A lot of the times you don’t realize what you can do.

The first year we spent a lot of money paying other people, if I could go back I would definitely do it myself, for example, we now do all the packing in house. We figured out a logistical method which works better for getting stock sent internationally as well as in England.

I wish I had known that before, it would have saved us a lot of money.


For example today, now I’m all dressed up but literally this morning I was in jogging bottoms and a sweater packing a massive order. We labeled it, packed it, did it all ourselves and I wouldn’t have thought I could do that at the beginning because it’s such a logistical nightmare but when it’s necessary you figure out a way to do it.
What’s your vision for the future?

I would love for Nubian Skin to be a household name, we’re tiny and we know that but we’re punching above our weight. I want any woman of color to be able to walk into a department store and know that she can find her own nude because that‘s such an empowering thing.
It’s something that a lot of people don’t think about because they don’t have to but I would love it for a black woman or an Asian woman to walk into a shop and not have to worry about finding nude just like a white women can.

I think that’s a very empowering thing and it’s very important.

What is your goal?

We’re working on just trying to give people what we think they need and what we’re hearing back from feedback and trying to provide that for people.

Would you ever expand into anything else? What could you go into next?

Well we have a lot of things up our sleeves. I can’t tell you. I’d have to kill you. uzuq2VKf

Maybe not kill you but hide in a box for a little while. {laughs} We’re working on some new products that we’re super excited about. We just want to keep evolving especially as we have competition now. Competition can be a good thing but we always want to stay one step ahead of the game. We’re trying to think of things that are creative, fun and interesting.

“Empowering Women. Embracing our Colour.”

Visit Nubian Skin

Follow Nubian Skin on Twitter and on Instagram

Follow Emeline on Twitter and on Instagram

Thank you Ade and Emeline! Love Thandie and Kay XXX



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