If you’re in the UK, you may have heard of Nylah’s Naturals on the latest season of Dragons’ Den, for those of you who haven’t, this is a brand you’ll definitely want on your radar! Read our interview with the founder of the brand, Kam, below for insight on what she would have done differently and her long term goals for the brand.
1.When did you start your brand?
We launched Nylah’s Naturals in 2018.
2.What was your main inspiration to do so?
My daughter Nylah was the main inspiration behind the brand. She had eczema when she was young, and I desperately sought a high-performance, solution-focused product that used ingredients that would care for her hair without aggravating her eczema-prone skin.
3.How did you find the development process?
Developing the products was one of the most challenging aspects of the brand during our infancy. It took several years, several cosmetic scientists and several variations before we found the right formulation. We believe that health and wellbeing should be at the heart of your hair care choices. We care about your hair and your overall health, so, when formulating our hair care products, we prohibit the use of over 1500 harmful ingredients in our formulation, so you can be confident you are making a healthy choice for your hair.
4. Your website mentions that your daughter suffers from eczema. Do you think there's a lack of effective products for skin problems like eczema?
There is a range of products on the market that take into consideration the needs of sensitive skin. However, when I searched for a suitable product for my daughter, I could not find a mild enough product to care for her sensitive scalp whilst delivering high-performance results to moisturise, nourish, and care for her hair adequately.
5. In your opinion, what has been one of the biggest obstacles you've faced so far?
I have realised that business success is underpinned by one's ability to problem solve, as problems do consistently arise. However, one of my biggest challenges to date has been centred around my financial constraints and not having the working capital needed to maximise my visibility and subsequently reach my target audience. However, the lack of finances pushed me to think creatively and implement strategies that help me to focus on customer retention. In doing so, I have created a brand that sells fantastic hair care products and provides black women with a platform that celebrates their authentic beauty.
6. What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting again?
If I could start again, I would have prioritised fundraising to secure the seed capital needed to get me through the first year. I know my products are excellent, the feedback we get is fantastic, and our customer retention rate is exceptional for a small business; therefore, with early investment, I am confident that we could have secured a sizable share of the UK's textured hair care market.
7. Tell us about your Dragons' Den experience
After reading Shonda Rhimes’ book ‘The Year of Yes’, I decided that I would seek out and explore every possible opportunity that was available to me on my business journey. However, as an introvert, this was a massive step outside of my comfort zone. Pitching in front of five formidable dragons is one thing, but knowing that pitch would be broadcasted to the entire nation was extremely daunting. Before entering the den, I was well aware of the challenges that I would have to overcome. Firstly, I would need to prove the market size to five individuals who were not familiar with the market opportunity or the spending habits of my target audience. Secondly, my turnover did not represent the size of the opportunity.
Overall, I was in the den for nearly two hours, and there was a significant amount of dialogue between myself and the dragons. I had to demonstrate a good understanding of the market, including market traction, CAGR, global opportunities, black female spending habits, navigating trends, sustaining market share and scaling. They didn't show this when my segment aired, and in many ways, I wish they had because you need to demonstrate high-level competence in the den - more so than depicted in the broadcast of my segment.
8. If the deal went through - what are you looking forward to doing now that you have the cash injection?
Over 50% of deals made in the den fail to go through, I am happy to say that Sara and I renegotiated terms that worked better for both of us, and I maintained more of my business equity. I am looking forward to adding new products and continuing to expand into the UK market. We are in high-level talks with two national retailers, and we should be on the high street shelves soon.
9. What would you say has been the most rewarding part of starting Nylah?
I started my company as an expression of love for my daughter; I wanted to create a brand that would celebrate my daughter's authentic beauty and ultimately help other women to do the same. My most rewarding moments are seeing someone fall in love with their hair, developing a sense of pride and confidence in their hair's natural texture. Being able to contribute to the black hair and beauty industry in a way that promotes inclusion and diversity is amongst my proudest accomplishments.
10. What do you want your legacy to look like?
Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I hope to leave a legacy that inspires other women to reach their full potential, reach for the stars, cultivate their talents, and keep on growing. Despite the many challenges along the way, with determination, an attitude to lifelong learning, and self-belief, you will eventually achieve every target that you set for yourself.
Follow Nylah’s journey through their website:https://www.nylahsnaturals.com and Instagram @nylah.uk_