Welcome to our first #cleanbeautyspotlight for our Spring Box! Today we are featuring Connie and Laura, Co-Founders of Niu Body and fellow Canadian boss babes. Continue reading to learn about the inception of Niu Body, and their inspiring startup story.
What values do you have that you believe you carried into your brand and company?
From day 1, my co-founder Laura and I knew that we wanted our brand to espouse our personal values to remain as authentic as possible. We have 5 core values that we uphold ourselves to both in our personal life as well as our work life: curiosity, hustle, integrity, grit and compassion. We hire and fire by these values, and implement them in performance reviews and day-to-day operations.
What inspired NIU BODY?
We started NIU BODY at the age of 23. I had just graduated with a business degree from Queen’s University, and Laura had just finished her bachelor’s of chemical engineering from the University of Toronto. We were introduced through a mutual friend, and began working on NIU BODY from the night we met! Laura came up with the initial idea for a natural coconut oil-based makeup remover wipe, and couldn’t find anything like it in the market. We bonded over our frustrations with overly priced clean beauty products, and the lack of ingredient education. At the time, I was working in marketing and sales, and Laura was working in software sales. We spent 1.5 years working on NIU BODY as a side hustle, working weeknights and full-day weekends, before fully dedicating ourselves to NIU BODY. We’re so proud to be on a mission to make natural beauty accessible for all women, with 100% natural and vegan products all under $40.
What’s your favorite part of creating your products?
Definitely seeing the impact our products make on people’s skin. We work hand-in-hand with our followers to formulate products, beginning with polling them on Instagram (what skin type do you have? What’s the next product you’d like us to make? What price point? What scents do you love? What skin concerns are you trying to address?), to sending out testers to a select group of NIU BODY customers for feedback before product launch. Our formulating process takes 6-8 months because we care so much about getting the formulas perfect! Getting customer calls, emails with photos of before/afters since using our products, and customer reviews online really makes our day.
What has been your most exciting moment with NIU BODY so far?
Seeing our products in-store is always extremely exciting! The first time we saw our products displayed in a big city was at Riley Rose right by Times Square. It was definitely a pinch-me moment for both of us, especially seeing customers pick up our products at shelf!
What was your biggest hurdle in creating your own skincare line?
A big difficulty that we overcame was starting our business with just $4,000. It was tough in many ways, including the comparison to other brands with massive budgets, and also the limited projects we were able to accomplish in the beginning. That being said, bootstrapping the business was also an amazing blessing in disguise. We had to consider where every single dollar we spent was going towards. Custom-printed labels were $0.50 each, so instead of sinking funds into pre-made labels, we purchased an inexpensive printer and print off our own. I distinctly remember one time Laura even drove 2 hours down to the US border to purchase makeup wipes in our first few months of business; this decision was made to save a few hundred dollars on shipping. Even though we no longer have to make these sorts of decisions, this level of scrappiness and determination still sticks with us today.
What advice do you give to people wanting to start their own business?
Just start and don’t look back. If you wait until your product/service is perfect, you’ve waited too long. In the famous words of Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, “if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
What is your favorite beauty ritual that leaves you looking and feeling naturally beautiful?
Great question! I always love the natural flush I get after a nice hot bath or sauna.
We’re featuring NIU BODY Cherry Lip Polish in the Spring box. What prompted the creation of this product?
We initially started our line of lip polishes with 3 flavours: Piña Colada, Vanilla and Coconut. We didn’t realize how quickly our lip polishes would rise to become one of our top-selling product lines, and after reviewing our sales data, realized that customers found the Coconut and Piña Colada flavours quite similar. Knowing this, we decided to swap our Coconut flavour with a crowd favourite – Cherry. The scent smells exactly like my favourite candy, Sour Cherry Blasters! We can’t wait to hear your subscribers’ thoughts. ☺