Exclusive Interview with Nubia Skin CEO and Founder Ade Hassan - Encompass Shipping

As the NYC fashion shows approach, many businesses (big and small) are keeping an open eye on up-and-coming brands and trends. One UK-based lingerie line in particular has received and unbelievable amount of press attention due to their uniqueness in serving women of all colors and sizes.

Nubian Skin is a nude hosiery and lingerie line founded by Ade Hassan, which addresses the specific needs of those with darker skin. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Ade to ask her a few questions about how she came up with her idea, her inspirations and hopes for the future of Nubian Skin.

Tell us about Nubian Skin? How did it get started?

I didn’t have a history in the lingerie or hosiery business, but I did have a very clear idea of what I wanted and how I wanted to present it.  The administrative side of registering a company is relatively easy to do in the UK, so once I ticked that off the list, it was figuring out how to turn my vision into reality.  I didn’t really know where to begin to get samples made or find factories, so I looked for an industry consultant, because I realised I was facing a very steep learning curve, and it would be critical to have good advice on how to approach the industry. After that it was all about research (a lot of research went into developing the colours) and also developing the product.

How did you come up with the idea to create it?

Nubian Skin was essentially born out of my own frustration, I wanted something I couldn’t find in shops, and I knew I couldn’t be the one who felt that way, so I decided to create it!

Who/what are your inspirations?

My biggest role model is my mother.  She’s an entrepreneur herself and my biggest cheerleader (alongside my dad!).

What is your focus for the spring season?

Our main focus right now is getting our bigger cups ready! After that we have a few exciting ideas in the pipeline…so watch this space!

What is most challenging aspect about running Nubian Skin?

It’s probably the sheer variety of things that need to be done and the amount of time it takes. It’s often hard to take your mind off things! It’s constantly up and down.

What is the most rewarding aspect of running Nubian Skin?

We love that it’s empowering women! It’s great to see the positivity surrounding the brand and women embracing their gorgeous skin-tones. We get lovely emails from customers, and I particularly love one from a student in Devon.  She said, “ just wanted to say thank you so much for creating this brand. I am really into fashion and have been waiting for ‘cafe au lait’ coloured underwear for so long. I grew up in rural Devon, which isn’t very diverse, and racism made me feel that my skin wasn’t okay and beautiful, and seeing this brand has made me so happy. The behind the scenes video is brilliant and is what so many girls need to see and hear!” – Things like that make all the hard work worthwhile.

Where do you see Nubian Skin in 5 years?

I’d like to still be going strong.  It would be great to see the brand readily accessible to our customers and having finding ‘nude’ be a non-issue.  We also have a few ideas we’re excited about working on, so watch this space!

Any advice for all of the emerging designers out there?

If you’ve got a creative 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?

What is your favorite aspect of attending the CURVEXPONY?

At this point, it’s like meeting old friends and catching up because you see the same people each season, so it’s a community.  It’s great to catch up with other people in the industry and see what exciting things they’re up to!

What are you expecting to get out of the Expo this year?

We’re excited to be showcasing our larger cups this summer, and hopefully we will see a lot of interest in that as they have been in demand for some time.

What are your ‘must-visit’ spots when you are staying in NYC?

Haha, basically it’s all food related.  I generally spend a lot of time hanging out with friends, but you can’t beat the Central Park or the High Line when the weather is nice.

Would you recommend for visitors that are coming from outside New York City to visit/eat?

I love ABC Kitchen and can never help popping in to Uncle Paul’s Pizza.  If you’re looking to really splurge, Milos is delicious!

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