THE INTERVIEW : ALEX, CO-FOUNDER OF NINI ORGANICS
BY KHANDIZ JONI
You know how we love to to delve into brand stories here at Futurefrock. So you can imaging our excitement when we had the opportunity to interview the fabulous folk behind latest clean beauty love affair, Nini Organics. Founded by brother and sister duo, Alex and Nicole, Nini Organics has just one mission in mind; to create the ultimate superfood for your skin, made with 100% Natural and Organic ingredients.
We chat to them about their vegan, gluten-free, organic new business and learn a little more about their story.
No story is begins without a great title and in this case, a name. Tell us how you came up with the name Nini Organics.
It's all about the name! It's like the finale piece of the puzzle coming together. For us it was a really organic process (no pun intended) originally I had the brand under a different name, 'By Alexander Skin' however, during a walk around a gorgeous park, where upon my sister decided she wanted to join me on my skin care adventure, we decided to change the name. As we were walking around we started throwing around some names, all nature related. However nothing sounded like what we were trying to do, as a natural, organic brand it can scare some people off who are so set in their ways to only use 'chemical' brands, the mere mention of it coming from nature is a no no. So my sister said the word NINI, as soon as I heard it I was like yep that's the one, we added organics at the end as we are an organic company which is something that is very important to us. NINI actually stands for my sisters first name, ' Nicole' and my last name 'Nicolaou'. So that's really the birth of our name.
I noticed that you highlight that you used ethically sourced minerals. Most consumers aren’t aware that even “natural” doesn’t always mean ethical. Could you tell us a little bit more why that was a key USP for you and what are your criteria for sourcing your ingredients ‘ethically’?
Yes it is important for us to be transparent with our ingredients, even when we formulate new and exciting products I go through a major ingredient breakdown, all of our herbs are sourced from a UK farmer. We scouted our Thanaka powder from a little family run business in Thailand, and our mica is actually a synthetic biodegradable plastic free mica, this took us a while to find and we are finally happy with our source. A lot of mica on the market is unfortunately not sourced ethically, that's why we chose to go with a synthetic form of mica, used most famously in all of Lush products. Our goal is to borrow form nature, not destroy it. Our key USP is, we have created products using only a few hero ingredients all of which are natural and organic (where applicable) with absolutely no nasties, and they work.
How long have you been working on developing this brand?
I've been working on developing my own range since I was 16, when I developed bad and painful acne. I remember my nan, Linda Smith, gave me an all natural seaweed mask that I used to mix up myself. I remember it being so magical and exciting and I knew I had to start the journey of making my own masks! Then I was introduced to neem and that was it I was researching and creating from then on, however I wasn't using 100% natural/ organic products I still used some chemical brands it wasn't until I was 22 that I started to really focus on the organic side of things. It came when I was just researching brands and I found this amazing other world of the beauty industry that just felt so right. I put my products on hold and decided to work for a few years for some top organic skincare brands, to gain more knowledge on the business side and undiscovered ingredients. I now feel ready to bring my masks to life and share them with the world. All my energy and love has gone in to each and every mask and I feel 100% confident in my creations.
Why did you choose to not have your masks ready made?
Here at NINI we believe you need to listen to your skin and that great skin starts with a great cleansing regime. Everyday without fail we mix one of our 4 hero masks with either our existing cleanser as a cleansing booster, or we use them on their own mixed with water as a cleanser. that's the beauty of NINI Organics you can incoorperate them in to your existing routine or use entirely alone. Whatever the day they will fit perfectly into anyone's routine. We decided to keep them as a loose powder as to keep all the integrity of the active ingredients in tack, when a mask is already pre mixed it can deplete the power of the ingredients. This also allows us to be free from any preservatives which can be harmful to the body.
You said "listen to your skin," can you elaborate on that?
Yes. So a lot of people just buy a product thinking their skin needs this or that, really and truly 80% of people's skin is normally the same, we all need detoxing and hydrating. However where the beauty industry has mislead our minds into thinking we need to pack so many products on our skin, layer after layer, it's just too much. So stop and listen, does it feel slightly bumpy, but not oily nor dry? you could just have congested skin and would benefit from a steam facial and our Bright face mask. If you do need help with a tailor made facial regime we are always happy to help, please email us at email@example.com
What have the challenges been in creating your own brand?
Challenges? Well, there has been many! Our main one is we are funding everything ourselves and with Nicole having just had a little boy it has made our progress slower than we would have liked. We also struggled with finding the best company based in the UK to supply all the packaging. And after a few trial and errors we are really happy with the companies that are currently supplying us. We then decided to change our label design after we realised our original idea was not feasible! although this was quite fun as we love anything to do with art. We were lucky with our website as my flat mate Luke did it for us, he is a web designer and an amazing one at it! He helps with everything to do with our site.
Any key milestones at this early stage?
Our key milestone was launching our website and having orders from the public rather than friends and family, on our very first day we made 4 sales and since then we have had many more. It was a very exciting moment when our first order came in. We are now focusing on updating our website with more products and spreading the word of NINI and its magical powers.
What’s the big dream? where to from here? (Because clearly even starting your own brand is a HUGE achievement)
Yes we're so proud and humbled that we've created something amazing, I am truly blessed with having made a dream come true. It's an amazing feeling one of which I'd love to continue, of course there's bound to be some hurdles but nothing we won't over come. Our dream goal is to have a global brand and promise to always stay true to our ethics. We are also in the development stages of a make up range and hopefully plans to open up a fully natural and organic store with treatment rooms. We're gonna keep a few secrets on how this store will differ from others out there, but I can ensure you it's like nothing else you've ever seen before. But most importantly this is not about making a quick buck this is about educating the world again on how important it is to seriously take care of yourself, have fun but have fun where your not destroying your body or nature.
What gave you the courage to take the plunge and dedicate all your time and energy to NINI?
I felt there was a massive gap in the market and I wanted to fill it with NINI Organics. I also needed a challenge, to feel the fear of the unknown! I want the world to see the power of our range and were excited for what the future holds.
Where can our readers find you?
Readers can find our online store at www.niniorganics.com we also have our Instagram page @niniorganics and soon to be in some stores! We're in talks with some exciting stockist from all over, but we hope to be in some major organic stores in London later this year. Also as a thank you for reading our interview we would like to offer readers a welcome discount of 15% and a free gift with every order. Just type in LOVER15 at check out.
What is the best advice you have ever received? And from whom?
Wow best advice... well I've received a lot of advice from many people, however words can just be words, you have to believe it, so really the best advice has come from my own brain telling me you can do this, just believe! That being said, a really good friend of mine, Pedro, who owns the most amazing beauty range ever called Twelve Beauty has given me such incredible advice one piece being, 'natural product Formulation is a science. not an experiment', this helped me properly research and formulate each product. We are now working closely together on a new makeup line.
Lastly, what are your guilty pleasures?
My guilty pleasures have to be crisps. Albeit organic and probably the most healthy kind of crisps. I LITERALLY can't live without crisps with hummus! I also love a bit of reality tv! I'm obsessed with Love Island and I've done a few tv shows myself like Release the Hounds, Coach Trip and a few more.