An interview with Ade Hassan, the creator of Nubian Skin
I was elated when I first heard about Nubian Skin back in 2014 through Facebook! Finally, I could buy a nude bra created to fit my skin tone. No more settling on my only option of a black bra, which is much darker than my skin tone and often shows through a white blouse. I realised that subconsciously I was waiting for someone to come up with such a product for years. Thank God that Ade Hassan had the courage to bring her dream to life and create Nubian Skin! I promptly ordered a bra from her website. It was so easy to select my shade since I was given a guide based on popular foundation colours – GENIUS! I was impressed with the quality of the bra and I must say that the fit is perfect.
Guess which bras Beyoncé and her dancers are wearing for her current Formation tour? That’s right: Nubian Skin! Beverley Knight, Kerry Washington, and Jordan Dunn are just some of the other amazing women who proudly wear Nubian Skin Lingerie. If that wasn’t impressive enough, in 2015 Ade was the winner of two awards: Favourite British Designer and Fashion Entrepreneur of the year! I had the great honour of sitting down with Ade to learn about how she created Nubian Skin. I was really impressed with her humility; she genuinely seemed surprised at her own success, and she was so down to earth. Ade has helped to forever redefine the conception of what the colour ‘nude’ means because it isn’t just one shade of beige. She’s a trailblazer and I after speaking with her I felt so inspired to dream big, take risks and pursue my passions. Read more about Ade below and check out her awesome website and blog at www.nubianskin.com.
MSA: So starting off at the beginning, I want to know a bit about your background, like where you’re from, where you were raised, and where you’re based now?
ADE: My parents are Nigerian. I was born in the UK, but I was raised in the UK, Nigeria, and in the US, so I had a little bit of an international upbringing. I did university in the US, and then came back to England; I’ve been here in London ever since. But I go to Nigeria frequently, several times a year to visit family and just because I love it. That’s the short version.
MSA: Where did you study in the States?
ADE: I went to Duke University and I did two Bachelors, one in English, and one in Economics. It was fun.
MSA: Oh, wow, that’s fantastic. I read that you were working as a private equity senior associate. What is that by the way?
ADE: I’d been working for a private equity placement agent. Basically a placement agent helps private equity firms manage their fundraising process. There’s a project management team, which is what I did, who helps firms craft their story and write their documents; and then there’s a sales team who finds investors who want to invest, and you match them to an equity firm. That’s what I was doing for the majority of my career.
MSA: So how did you find that? Did you enjoy it?
ADE: I did. It’s really hard work. It was my first proper job after internships. I was working at a bank, so it was pretty hard-core. You’re working from 9:00am until 2:00am. I did that for a couple of years, took some time out, then I tried consulting but I didn’t like it. So I went back to work at a boutique firm and really enjoyed it. You meet really impressive people.
MSA: So did the idea of Nubian Skin start whilst you were working?
ADE: The idea of Nubian Skin actually came to me when I was working in consulting. As I said I wasn’t enjoying it, so I think when you’re not enjoying something you start thinking a bit more creatively. I’d always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I wanted it to be in fashion. I knew it wasn’t going to be clothes because it’s a very saturated market. When you’re in the midst of the corporate world you realise that a lot of women’s blouses are sheer, or a little bit see-through or white, and it was really annoying never being able to find a nude bra or tights that just matched my skin. It was very, very annoying. I just remember it was like a light-bulb went off and I thought, “That’s what I should do.”
I knew I needed to save a lot more money than I was making, so I started thinking, “Okay, I should probably go back into finance.” Then things just kind of happened where somebody who I’d worked with previously was at a new firm and needed to hire someone that she trusted, and so it all just kind of magically fell into place. I went there to save money basically.
MSA: So, you started your company while you were working. Did you get to that point where you realized, “Okay, I have enough money now; It’s time for me to quit work and face Nubian Skin full-time?”
ADE: It’s hard when you’re making money, because in finance you make good money. It’s hard because you have nice holidays and you buy designer shoes and clothes, and it’s just really, really nice. It’s busy too, so you get distracted. I told my mom about the idea of Nubian Skin and she told me, “Ade, you’re not focusing on this thing again! I want my tights,” I was like, “Oh my gosh mum!” Then in the summer of the UK Olympics, I was actually in New York for the whole summer, I stayed with a friend and I shared my idea with her. Then the next year on my birthday she sent me a card which arrived a couple of weeks after my birthday. At the front it said: “It’s time to start living the life you’ve always imagined.” On the inside was this long message about how she loved my idea and how she wanted to see me on the Forbes list one day and she thought it was amazing. Literally the next day I registered the company and started registering the trademarks. It was like go, go, go from there.
MSA: Wow! Was Nubian Skin up and running when you left your job in finance?
ADE: So I was working full-time and setting everything up. About a year after I was still working, but I went part-time because there were some deals I was working on which I had to close. Then by the time we launched Nubian Skin, I was still working part-time but then I quit and went full-time with Nubian Skin in December 2014. It was a couple of months after I launched it.
MSA: It’s very smart that you did it gradually; you can’t just leave a job where you’re earning money and then have nothing, because there is a lag period before you start making money from a new company.
ADE: Not having that steady income was probably one of the biggest adjustments. I wasn’t paying myself because I couldn’t afford to. Still to this day I get emails like, “This sale’s on!” or “These shoes!” and I’m like, “I really can’t afford any of this anymore.”
MSA: Starting a venture like this would have taken quite a lot of capital. Did you fund it all by yourself?
ADE: That was the reason that I went back into finance, was because I needed to save. It was self-funded …..boot-strapped. Then some of my family also invested, but obviously if you’re going to ask anybody for money they need to see that you’re really, really serious. I basically put everything that I’d ever saved into this company.
MSA: Wow, that’s quite risky. It showed you really believed in Nubian Skin to have done that. So at this point in time do you have any business partners?
ADE: Yeah, it was really risky. Sometimes I’m like, “Oh! What did I do?” My family has invested, but there are no business partners. I am the sole director.
MSA: Talk me through the steps you took to get the initial concept of Nubian Skin to the point where you actually had the bras?
ADE: The creative side was really exciting for me. I’d sleep with a notebook on my bedside table, because I’d wake up at like 2:00 AM and think, “Oh my goodness, I have the perfect concept for a photo shoot,” or, “this would be a really cool name for a colour”. Sometimes I do look back and I think, “How in the world did you manage to get it to where it is?” It was step-by-step process, first of all I needed colours which took a year to develop. There wasn’t anything I could look at and say, “I need that colour.” The colour ‘nude’ is a certain nude in the shops. There wasn’t four shades of brown that I could find anywhere.
Then I searched for manufacturers, because I needed a sample. That took a while and it was quite frustrating. I hired a consultant, which I think was the best money I ever spent. I made her sign a non-disclosure agreement, and then I told her about my idea and she said, “This has legs.” I was like, “Cool, it has legs, but nobody’s coming back to me from manufacturers.” She said, “You need to go to trade shows and you’ll meet them.” That was brilliant advice for me so I went to lingerie trade shows, I met several different people and I selected the one that I was going to work with. Then it was a process of refining the styles and colours. There was a lot of back and forth on that with the manufacturer and then I visited a factory in China; because obviously if you’re going to produce something, you need to make sure that firstly, it fits your ethical standards and secondly, you also need to inspect the product to ensure quality. It was a similar process for the hosiery, except that was European-based so it was a little bit easier. Slowly but surely, things came through. I remember the day I got the first samples, I was literally tearing up.
MSA: I can imagine that it would have been very emotional for you.
ADE: Then there was the photo shoot, which was just amazing. I knew initially that Nubian Skin was going to be online only, so I knew that the images would be everything. I found a photographer and then we had a casting. I met the models and picked some girls who just had amazing personalities. We had the most fun photo shoot. We found a great venue and we had a small team. I mean it was small, there was the photographer, a makeup artist, the models, myself, an intern, and somebody doing a ‘behind-the-scenes video’ and that was it. It was great. It was so much fun. Then we had the images, and we were like, “Hey, we’re ready. We can start releasing things.”
MSA: Then you went live, I guess?
ADE: Well, no, we didn’t go live. All of that had been a lot of work and I went on holiday for a week. I put up the images of our girls on Instagram and I had fifty followers. I went on holiday but my phone kept buzzing, and then we got to a hundred followers and I was ecstatic. I didn’t know social media, and I thought this was amazing. Then we got to a thousand by the end of that week.
ADE: In four weeks, we were at twenty thousand. The image went viral, and I had never understood what that meant. Then all of a sudden the image was on sites like Buzzfeed, Mail Online, and The Independent. People were just contacting us because everyone was talking about it and it was trending.
MSA: I presume you had your website built at that point?
ADE: Well, we had a blog because we didn’t yet have a product. We only had samples, we didn’t have the product delivered yet. It was insane. We kept releasing information about the colours, and then describing them and saying, “It matches to this foundation.” Just telling people the story and that was great because it helped us build a really strong base of people who were following us. By the time we did launch in October (the initial pictures were released August, about a month and a half earlier), we had all these people who were there supporting us and were ready. It was just the most exciting, ridiculous time. It was so much fun and very nerve-wracking. It was just really humbling that people were interested and supportive.
MSA: Did you actually design the bras yourself?
ADE: If you’ve seen the collection it’s very basic. There’s a t-shirt bra, a strapless bra, and a lace bra. Design wise, it’s not the most sophisticated, but it’s the basics that women need in their everyday life. It was very easy to tell the manufacturers, “I want a t-shirt bra, and these are the details I want.”
MSA: I’m trying to get the complete timeline from when you contacted the manufacturers and told them what you wanted, to actually getting the bras ‘on the shelf’ so people could buy them on the Nubian Skin website?
ADE: It took a year longer than I thought it would. I thought, very naively, that I could be up and running in like five months. It took a year and a half! I came up with the concept in 2011, and we didn’t launch until 2014, so for me it was a long time coming. From working with the manufacturer, that was summer 2013. I thought, “In Autumn 2013, we can be launching, no problem.” Obviously it was a year and a half later before we actually launched.
MSA: During that period did you feel frustrated because it wasn’t happening the way you wanted it to?
ADE: In my head I was like, “Somebody else is going to do this!” But the then end the timing ended up being just perfect. For me it was a miracle.
MSA: You’ve already answered my question about having the blog first before launching the website. Was that something that you planned, to generate interest before the website launched?
ADE: It kind of just happened organically. Basically we had the website domain name and I was like, “Let’s do a blog!,” just to talk about stuff that’s kind of interesting to the brand and to us. Then once people got really interested from social media we thought, “Let’s start telling people what we’re doing because they want to know.”
MSA: I love your blog. I love how you talk about different things, like fashion looks for different seasons, food and skin care. It’s added a different dimension to the Nubian Skin brand, so I’m not just ‘here to buy a bra’ but I can read about other issues that I found really interesting. Do you do most of the writing yourself?
ADE: Thank you. I do some of the writing and Amy does some as well, she’s my marketing and admin assistant; she is just amazing, and now we have an intern who also does some pieces every now and then. We all contribute.
MSA: I also like the fact that you have nude hosiery, which for me has been an unsatisfied desire for years. Seeing nude tights on your website made me so excited and I bought a pair! I also think it’s awesome that you’ve created tights for bigger women, because they’re another group of people that the fashion industry has not always catered to. I read on your blog that you were dying tights in vats of tea to get the right shades? I think that’s so cool, tell me about that.
ADE: We got the colouring for the bras, finally, after ages. I was like, “Perfect. I just need to replicate this for the hosiery.” So I sent it to the factories dying lab, but the tights came back and the 2 of the colours were wrong. Obviously a solid fabric will dye differently than a sheer fabric. Finally, I got so frustrated and I thought, “I can’t keep telling them to ‘add more red’ or ‘do this’. So I’m just going to make the colour, and then they’ll have to replicate it.” I had pots of black tea, coffee, and rooibos tea (because it has red undertones) and I literally just submerged them and cooked them. I dried them and then I had all my friends try them on until they said, “That’s the colour!” Then I sent them to the factory and said, “This is what you need to replicate.”
MSA: That’s so intelligent. If you can’t get what you want then create it!
ADE: I don’t know if it’s intelligence or if it’s desperation. It was definitely desperation (laughs)!
MSA: Well I think it’s really cool. I’m interested to know how involved you are in the different aspects of your company. Because you’ve got do marketing, manage your staff and you also do some public speaking engagements. How does it all work?
ADE: We’re a tiny team, and I’m very, very involved, unfortunately (laughs). There are some things I’d like to hand over to somebody else but we just can’t afford it at this point. We’ve had to grow intelligently and make sure that the money’s there. So I’m involved in bookkeeping, customer service, pick and pack – everything, because we’re small.
MSA: So talk me though what a week in your life looks like?
ADE: There really isn’t really a normal week, and I know this is frustrating when people say that. A lot of times, quite frankly, it’s just fighting whatever fires happen to explode at any given time. Generally I wake up and check my emails, I try not to but I do, I get on social media and then I get to the office usually between 9:00 and 10:00am. I start with emails, there’s a lot that you have to take care of whether it’s wholesale accounts, figuring out something with a customer, developing a new product, getting samples in, or thinking about concepts for a new campaign. There’s just so much! I also attend meetings. Sometimes I’m just staring at the computer because I think, “I have so much to do and I don’t know where to start.”
Sometimes if there’s a new campaign it’s really exciting, because then you’re meeting models and you’re thinking about, “What location do I want to do this shoot, what’s the concept behind it, and what’s the story behind it?” Sometimes it’s flying to a different country because you’re interested in another factory and to see if you want to work with them. Other times it’s just being in the office, like 9:00 am to 6:00pm or 7:00pm, then going home afterwards and then checking all your emails on your phone. I didn’t switch off initially, I’m much better at doing it now than I was at the very beginning, but it’s my baby so it’s hard.
MSA: I can imagine it must be! How are you finding balancing work with having a personal life?
ADE: A lot of my friends, family and loved ones are very supportive. They know if I don’t have time to do ‘x’, and they don’t get offended. They know I’m busy. I’ve had lovely friends who I was supposed to meet for dinner, and I’d say, “Do you want to come to the office instead and have burgers and help me pack this order going to Nordstrom?” and they’d say, “Yes, yes, fantastic.” It’s not the easiest thing in the world [finding a balance]. I’m much better at it now but I’m still not great at it. It’s do-able, it’s just being flexible. I think if you have support that’s everything.
MSA: Apart from having your business and a personal life, what other hobbies or interests do you have? I now know that you sew.
ADE: Yes, although I haven’t done that in ages. I love to travel. Sadly, I don’t get to travel for pleasure as much as I used to, but I do love to travel. I love being in London and I’m always busy. I love eating – a lot. I like just spending time with friends, going to the spa when I can afford it, and I really like culture.
MSA: 2015 seems to have been a really big year for your company. You were interviewed by Oprah’s Magazine in January, and then you won two awards: The UK Lingerie Awards (Favourite British Designer), and The Great British Entrepreneur Awards (Fashion Entrepreneur of the year). WOW! Was winning these awards something you ever envisioned happening?
ADE: No, I didn’t. I was really, really excited, and to have it happen concurrently when we were moving offices and bringing all our warehousing in-house; it was the most manic time! It was really funny because I was literally building a warehouse, and one of my friend’s mum’s’ had seen me on one of the weekends when we were doing that, and she was showing one of her friends my picture on social media, and she goes, “Oh no, that’s not her.” Because it was a picture of me from the award show and I looked really glamorous, and she was like, “I saw her yesterday, that’s not her.” Then she said, “Oh wait that must be her.” That is so tragic! It’s the perfect example of what my life is like, where you’ve got these high highs, but then you’ve got these absolute rubbish moments. Its funny hearing you mention all of that. Sometimes you lose sight of it but it was an incredible, unbelievable year.
MSA: So during the award ceremony, I imagine you’re sitting down having a dinner or drinks, and they call your name. How did you feel at that time?
ADE: Specifically with the Great British Entrepreneur award, I remember before going I looked at the list of judges and it was about eighty percent male. There were ten of us around the table, and I thought, “I’m definitely not going to win because they’re [the men] not going to know what’s going on with underwear.” They called out the third place winner, then called out the second place winner, and I was like, “Well, it was nice to be here, it was nice to be short listed.” They said my name, and I was so shocked. I didn’t get up at first; it was like being in a daze. I don’t even remember going up on that stage, and getting the award.
MSA: You didn’t trip? (Laughs)
ADE: I didn’t! All I kept saying to myself was, “Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall.” One of the organizers, who I’d met at a networking event before the awards was standing at the stairs. I passed him with my eyes glazed over. Later that evening I said to him, “It was so lovely to see you,” and he goes, “Yeah, you were clearly so surprised. You didn’t even register that I was there saying hi to you!” I was really surprised; I wasn’t expecting it.
MSA: That’s awesome. How does it feel now, knowing that people like Jourdan Dunn, Kerry Washington, Beyoncé, and Beverly Knight are wearing your lingerie and mentioning it on social media?
ADE: When you said that I was like, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!”. It doesn’t really feel real.
MSA: Girl, you are among those names now. You are Ade Hassan!
ADE: I’m really, really not. My bank account says otherwise. I literally say a prayer of gratitude every morning, because it’s a miracle. Why? How? I don’t even know. It’s phenomenal. It’s amazing.
MSA: I think it’s awesome. When a lot of black women go underwear shopping the only choice is a black bra, and occasionally you may see a brown bra but it’s not always a shade that matches your skin tone.
ADE: It’s a fashion colour, so you won’t see it every season, and it might not be a brown that’s skin tone, it’s just brown. So you’re like, “It’s brown, I’ll take it.”
MSA: I realise how much I just settled for that one brown shade and didn’t think further about it. I think we were just waiting for you, to create Nubian Skin. I’m just so grateful. You’ve changed the game and I think bigger things are coming because of what you’re doing. Christian Louboutin now has a nude shoe collection that includes darker skin and lots of makeup brands are bringing out nude lipstick lines for all skin tones which we never saw before. I look forward to walking into Boots or any supermarket and finding a plaster that matches my skin tone. Obviously you’ve had a lot of challenges setting up Nubian Skin, any other ones that you want to share?
ADE: It’s a lot of work. You might think that you’re ready to work hard, but it will be so much more work than you can imagine, so you need to be a hundred and fifty percent there. It’s also really expensive and being an entrepreneur is a huge lifestyle change. My mum used to always tell me that, and I was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” But now I’m like, “Oh yeah. I understand now. Now I’ve actually got it.” It’s also emotional because it’s your thing. When you have a job, there’s a certain amount of you that isn’t invested in it, because it’s not yours. But when it’s your baby and somebody makes a negative comment you have to learn to separate yourself from it because it would be like being punched in the gut. Then there’s the worry and the stress, e.g., can we afford to pay everybody this month? All of that is on you. It is a lot of pressure, so I think having a strong support system is so, so important.
I could keep going for hours on the challenges, but it is also rewarding. Sometimes I think you do lose sight, like when you mentioned, “This happened in 2015 and this happened, and that happened,” I’m like, oh my gosh, all those good things did happen! It’s learning to appreciate all the good, and then also just understanding that it’s not always ‘cloud nine’. Working for yourself doesn’t mean you get to do yoga and wake up at a decent hour. No. It’s just stress! Someday you’ll get to that point, when you have so many people working for you that you can have a very Zen lifestyle.
MSA: It’ll come, definitely it’ll come. With this knowledge that you now have, and the experience that you’ve gained, what would you do differently if you had to do it again?
ADE: Firstly, I was so lucky, I didn’t have a marketing plan and basically social media took care of that for me. So I would say have a marketing plan. Also, try and save money where you can because sometimes there’s a temptation, especially in the beginning because you don’t realize all the hidden costs. We were very sparing with cash, like our photo shoot didn’t cost a ton. Sometimes people will blow money on a really lovely photo shoot, and I think you don’t need a massive production team – we had three people and it was fine.
MSA: What would you say is your proudest moment in this whole journey of Nubian Skin?
ADE: I don’t think I can say one, but I do think when, … I’m tearing up now. First of all, when I got the samples I thought, “This is going to happen”. Then also, probably when it first went crazy on social media and hearing people say, “Thank you, thank you, this has been a long time coming.” Also the love – the love we got was overwhelming – there was just so much love. That period was amazing.
MSA: I can see it on your face that this is your passion, and that’s good. It shows that you’re where you should be in life, as opposed to working in a 9 to 5 job where you aren’t motivated. What would you say to somebody else, another budding entrepreneur, who has an idea and is wondering, “How do I bring this idea to life?”
ADE: First of all, research it and make sure you really believe in it because it’s a lot of work. Make sure you research it and something else that’s exactly the same doesn’t exist. Research, research, research! Then once you’re ready it’s about working backwards. Think okay, I want ‘x’. Then just make a list of: “If I want X, how do I get to X?” Then crate of list of what you need, e.g., I need this information, I need this manufacturer, I need this service, I need these contacts, etc. Just work back from the goal, and write down your steps, e.g., step 1: contact whoever, step 2: figure ‘x’ out, and so forth. Sometimes I think a goal or idea can seem so huge, and you think, “I could never do that.” But if you say, “How do I do it? How do I get there?”, then It’s achievable. It’s just a matter of knowing the steps and then following them.
Also, I was going into an industry I knew nothing about and I needed expert advice. Paying for that advice and not being cheap about it was the best decision I ever made. I think that, and then my website. Those were the two things that I really needed help with. Let’s say, for example, you want to do something on e-commerce. Don’t skimp on the person building your website, but don’t go paying ridiculous amounts either, because there’s a happy medium. Find something that will do a good job, that isn’t extravagant. For example, if you want to open up a restaurant probably one of the most important things is your chef. So don’t be cheap on the most important thing in your business. You don’t need to spend millions on fancy business cards, but you need to get a good chef. You know what I mean?
MSA: Yeah, that’s very smart. By the way, do you have a business mentor?
ADE: I don’t, sometimes I wish I did, but both my parents are entrepreneurs, so they have a lot of good advice for me. There are not in this industry [fashion] at all, but they get it and that’s nice, because then I can say, “This is happening,” and they’ll say, “We know.” That’s just comforting. My parents are everything. I respect them so much; their support is amazing. I remember when we launched, everything was going so mad, and I wasn’t sleeping. Literally I’d be up at 4 or 5 am, and then be working and then come home and keep on working until 1 or 2 am. My parents, who are both incredibly busy people, decamped from Lagos to London and they said, “We’re here. You just need to work and sleep. When you need to eat, just come home. We’ll feed you and then you can go to work, then come home and go to sleep.” You can’t pay for that.
MSA: You are so blessed, that’s so touching. You need people like that on your team. That’s what breeds success. What would you say is next for Nubian Skin? If you can share it with us, that is, because I know there are some things you aren’t able share.
ADE: The one thing that I can share is we’re working on bigger sizes and fuller cups. Because right now, the hosiery goes up to 3XL, which is great, so we’re going from a small to 3XL. For bras, we go from a 30 band to a 40 band, which is also good, but we stop at a DD cup. That’s been something that people have been saying even before we launched. Those are coming in the next few months, and I’m very excited about it. That’s our next big thing. Then we have lots of other stuff in the pipeline that I can’t tell you!
MSA: That’s ok, I completely understand. Back to the decision on your bra sizes, did you decide to start with smaller sizes since you were just starting out?
ADE: Everything we do is custom-dyed, so you’re getting manufacturers to dye things which is more expensive. Then the standard bra size is up to a double D. We decided that since we [Nubian Skin] were starting off small, we’d go to a DD cup. Then also there’s a whole technical aspect to a fuller bust, which I don’t have any experience in, so I didn’t want to do something and get it wrong. Because when I do something it’s got to be properly done. That’s just taken me a bit more time.
MSA: Do you have a lingerie consultant you go to get advice as to how to build a bra for a fuller bust?
ADE: I generally go directly to the factories and work with them, because I like to be pretty hands-on. We work with pattern cutters and technical graders to make sure our products are good, especially now for the fuller bust. Then it’s really trialling things when you get the bras. That’s the biggest test, getting people to try them on and getting feedback on what works.
MSA: So where do you see Nubian Skin in the next 5 years?
ADE: I would hope Nubian Skin would be truly a household name. I would hope it would be a default brand so that when people say, “I need ‘x’,” they would also say, “Brilliant, I know where to go.” I would also hope that we are still around, quite frankly, because it’s a tough business. So I hope we’re still around, that we’re comfortable, and that we’re easily accessible. I would love Nubian Skin to be a biggish company.
MSA: Are you shipping to Saudi, or the Emirates now?
ADE: We ship globally, but we do have a retailer in the UAE. We’ve got stockists in Portugal, and in Nigeria, which is exciting for me (there’sgoing to be an exciting announcement about that soon). Then we have stockists in USA, Canada, the French Caribbean and of course the UK.
MSA: Just out of interest, how did you know that Beyoncé’s tour team were wearing your bras?
ADE: I got an email from her stylist saying, “Love your brand, we’d love to work with you for the Formation Tour,” and I thought, “This is a scam.” I sent it to some friends who work in that industry, and they said, “Oh yeah, we know him. This is legit, get back to them ASAP.” I was like, “What!” At the office we were like, “Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh!” But we also said, “Okay, we’ll tell him we’re interested and then we need to channel Beyoncé.” We were literally playing Beyoncé non-stop in the office. Then he responded saying, “Hey, we’d love to work with you. You’re going to be the official underwear supplier for the tour. This is what we want.” So we pack up everything and send it to him, and then he was really silent, so we thought, “Okay, maybe not.” Then they released the first tour pictures, and they’ve got these white, cut out, see-through body suits. So I sent Beyoncé’s stylist an email saying, “Is this what I think it is?” And he said, “Hundred percent, all Nubian Skin.” I was like, “Yeah!!” There’s some pictures where you can see the dancers with bra straps showing with our monogram on them. It’s crazy!
MSA: That’s amazing. I think Nubian Skin is going to get even bigger.
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It really was an honour to spend an hour with Ade and hear about the whole Nubian Skin journey so far. I was really touched that she took time out of her very busy schedule to talk to me. Please support Nubian Skin by buying their products and telling your friends about it. Also, follow Nubian skin on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Thanks Ade, you are a legend! xxx
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