Interview

Meet Nubian Skin's Ade Hassan

26.10.2016

Founded in 2014, Nubian Skin has taken the lingerie industry by storm with a revolutionary collection of skin-toned bras and hosiery. With a mission to 'redefine nude', it's safe to say that Nubian Skin has definitely done just that. We caught up with the brand's founder, Ade Hassan, to hear all about the collection, what inspires her and life as an entrepreneur. Here's what Ade had to say…

We love Nubian Skin and the range of products you offer! What made you take the leap to start your own business and create the brand?

Thank you! Nubian Skin was essentially born out of my own frustration of not being able to find what I wanted in shops. I thought that if it was something I wanted and was so necessary, other women of colour would definitely want it too – so I decided to create it!

The collection looks amazing. How did you go about finding the perfect shades of hosiery?

Thank you very much! Finding the perfect shades was a lengthy process - it took about a year from start to finish! At the start, I just visited as many counters as I could which had significant offerings for women of colour, such as Fashion Fair, BlackUp, MAC, and Lancôme.

Based on all my findings, I then selected my skintone pantone colours, but this was just the first stage! Matching a skin tone pantone to a fabric pantone and making sure to compare the colours under a light box was a very good exercise, which we did at the end of the summer. By autumn that year we had an initial set of colour samples, but they weren’t quite right, and we didn't actually manage to pin down colours we were satisfied with until May or June 2014, and then the task became matching up samples of each dyed component of a bra (each type of fabric holds dye differently), so they were all uniform. We finalised the colour of the bras by summer, but the tights were a different matter entirely. You can’t simply replicate the colour of a solid fabric to a sheer fabric, so the tights required significantly more time. Two of the colours we got down pretty quickly, but two have taken a bit more effort. It even involved me boiling some of the colours I wasn’t satisfied with in massive pots of tea and coffee at various strengths to get the perfect colour…we got there in the end!

You must be a very busy woman! Tell us what a typical day looks like for you.

There is no typical day. Usually as soon as I wake up I look through emails on my phone. Then I’ll check Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see what people have said - it’s a great way to get direct feedback from customers or potential customers.

After that, I head to the office to really get started. I'll have different priorities each day, whether that’s meetings, changing something on the website, logistics, finance, coming up with new ideas, visiting a manufacturer or helping to process different orders.

What do you love most about your job?

It’s great to work on something that is your own and that you love. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur and Nubian Skin is my baby! It’s great, and it’s also lot of hard work.

We love the brand's motto; “Empowering women. Embracing our colour.” Who are the women that inspire you the most?

My whole family inspire me. They are wonderful. I have an incredibly supportive husband, and my siblings and parents are just amazing. My mother is an incredible woman, and my father cannot do enough for his family. They are both entrepreneurs, and they’ve set a great example for me.

What advice would you give to other women who are thinking of starting their own business?

If you've got an idea you'd like to bring to life, 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?

And lastly, what can we expect to see next from Nubian Skin?

Our current focus is getting the bigger cup sizes ready – we’re really excited about launching them! After that we have a few exciting ideas up our sleeves, so watch this space!

Figleaves

Jessica Flexton

EDITOR

With a love for lingerie, an obsession with the beach and an eye for style, Figleaves Editor, Jessica Flexton, talks everything from the latest trends to new collections and exclusive features.