AN IMPROBABLE ROUTE TO ESTABLISHING A SKINCARE EMPIRE
Great things do start in unlikely places. Unknown to Faria Ichola at the time, the foundations for Belle Nubian were being laid as far back as 2009. Then, she worked as an Executive Assistant and Household Manager for an American A-list celebrity.
“It was an intense experience but one of the valuable takeaways of having such people as your coach and mentor is an in- credible work ethic. My time with her also gave me an inroad to learning about the skincare regimen of celebrities.” By 2016, years after her adventure with the icon began, Ichola would become the founder of a beauty firm. Now, she looks back with fondness at her business adventure.
“I am elated that Belle Nubian is where it is today, after years of sheer determination and hard work. When people look at successful businesses, it is easy to overlook the effort and sacrifices while focusing only on the achievements. However, being in business also involves facing battles and overcoming them.”
Trials and adversity are opportunities to innovate and build resilience. For Ichola, those were key ingredients that helped her build a thriving business. This year, she is concluding preparations to launch our third store in Paris. If owning just one is laudable; having three is an undeniable testament of Belle Nubian’s exceptional growth as a brand.
ESTABLISHING DOMINANCE WITH AN AFRO-CENTRIC SKINCARE PROPOSITION
Ichola saw a gap and stepped in.
Most companies before hers focused on generic products that barely met the specific needs of African skin.
In the process of finding a solution to her skincare issues, she found a formula that proved effective in addressing her concerns–glutathione.
“When I found out that this ingredient was relatively non-existent in the beauty market, I created a dual-glutathione and vitamin C product and began selling.”
That pioneer product sold out and with consistent demand came scale. As her brand grew and began introducing newer products, Ichola had to establish a distribution network across Africa. Now, Belle Nubian is one of the biggest skincare brands solely owned by a black person, generating over €9million (approximately $9.9 million) in sales annually.
Beyond hard work, Ichola attributes her business’ growth to knowing her clientele. A hands-on Founder/CEO, she employs an open-door policy, not just with her employees but also with her customers. This way, she gets to feel their pulse and respond to their needs on a much deeper level than most companies her size.
BEYOND BEAUTY: FROM SKINCARE TO EMPOWERMENT In addition to building a luxury skincare brand present on three continents, Ichola’s company is also a vehicle for empowering African women.
“It is wonderful to see how we have evolved from a brand focused on helping African women embrace healthy skin to one that also creates economic opportunities for them. Beyond beauty, they are also financially independent and happier. That freedom from not being dependent on badly-behaved men is beautiful to see.”
CHARTING NEW FRONTIERS
Getting into a hard-to-crack industry and prospering is no easy feat. However, when you have done it successfully for seven years, you are bound to explore ways to impact more lives. New horizons in haircare, baby care, and more have come calling.
For anyone, those should be daunting challenges, but this is Faria Ichola. When you have established a force to reckon with in luxury skincare, new frontiers are not overwhelming prospects. On the contrary, they are exciting opportunities to further leave Belle Nubian’s mark on the African skincare industry.
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