Thanks to a spontaneous shower, Kassi Emadi now owns one of the most talked about products in the beauty industry. Nuddy has been featured in Marie Claire, Refinery29, Harper’s Bazaar, The Sun and GQ to name a few, so we couldn’t wait to sit down with the 25-year-old and find out exactly what it took to go from hobby to fully-fledged business.
Smart Girl Tribe: When was your lightbulb moment?
K: It sounds SUPER cliché, but I swear it’s the truth. I had a genuine lightbulb moment when I was in the shower. I always laugh when I tell people the story because it seems so surreal. I jumped out the shower, ran to my room and started writing notes frantically in my journal. I then rang me mum and started shouting “SOAPPPPP” down the phone. Odd, but true.
S: So after that phone call, how did you come up with the whole concept?- It’s so unique.
K: After having the initial idea it just kind of snowballed. Within 20 minutes of getting out the shower I had filled out 5 pages in my journal. I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve, I just had to figure out how to do it. Along with inspiration and help from some of the most amazing creative people in my life, the concept just kept developing.
S: How did you come up with the name?
K: Originally nuddy was going to be called FILTH. Turned out it was trademarked. I nearly cried. Then got over it. My brother, Marcus actually thought of ‘nuddy’. It’s perfect and works so well. I can’t imagine nuddy being anything else. It was FATE.
S: Who has had the greatest influence on your work?
K: MY MUM. She is amazing – the most hardworking and brilliant woman I have ever met. There is absolutely no way that I would be doing what I am doing if I didn’t have even 10% of her inside of me. I could totally say someone famous, there are bloody loads of unbelievable women in the world but in all honestly, the one who has inspired me most, is my mum.
S: How did you fund the business at the start and how did you secure customers in the beginning?
K: All self-funded, we still are. We had a great response to nuddy from the get go, people were super intrigued and it just grew from there.
S: Tell us your career path so far?
K: I moved to London after finishing uni and started working in PR. I made my way up the ranks pretty quickly, working at smaller boutique agencies, but on some amazing brands. I loved that world, it was so much fun and I was really good at it. My last job before leaving London to start work on nuddy was Head of PR at The Clerkenwell Brothers. I was their first employee actually. I learned so much from the boys (three founders), I wouldn’t have had the confidence to create my own brand if it wasn’t for my time spent there. Amazing creatives, I learnt SO much.
S: What is a habit that contributes most to your success?
PASSION. I am fully obsessed. All I talk about is soap. I love what I do, I LOVE the brand I have created and it means more than anything to me. I do take days off though, don’t worry.
S: How did you come up with your branding? What is some advice about creating a strong brand?
K: I knew exactly what I wanted the nuddy brand to be like – simple but LOUD. I developed the brand strategy, I wrote 500 words on who nuddy would be as a person. What nuddy would do, say, wear, everything. I then found a super talented graphic designer, Ashleigh. She helped bring my ideas to life while challenging me. I said to her on our first meet – I know what I want, but I want you to tell me it’s crap if it’s crap. I wanted to create something special and we have definitely done that. Advice would be to start at the very beginning – give your brand their own identity, inside out. How do they talk? What’s their vibe? What do they stand for? Then give them life. Sometimes simple is best.
What would you say to your younger self? “No one else knows what the f*** they’re doing either.”
S: What’s one thing that has surprised you about the whole process?
K: A million things. But honestly, the biggest and most wonderful surprise is how generous and amazing people can be. So many people have gone out of their way to help me on my journey. Asked for nothing in return for their time and wisdom. How special is that? I will always try and help young entrepreneurs in any way I can – because it is tough, and even a good idea just isn’t enough.
S: How do you stay focused working from home?
K: I really struggle to stay focused, I have a really short attention span and I also really hate being alone for too long. I’m a really sociable person and I just like to talk… a lot. I work at weird times and break my day up how I want. That’s the good thing about working for yourself. You’ll often find me on my laptop in bed until 11 replying to emails and doing admin. I just can’t seem to do that during the day from my office. I do it on the move and on my phone when I have to.
S: What do you do when lacking inspiration?
K: I just take a step back. Early on I struggled with this, my brother rang me and told me that it was ok to feel uninspired and at a loss. He told me to just take a day and switch off, so that’s what I do now.
S: How important is social media for your business?
K: SO important. It’s at the core of our marketing strategy. We used to to build our brand awareness, communicate with our consumers and build brand love.
S: What is your design process like?
K: I work with a super talented graphic designer, who I just love. We collaboratively work on all branding and bring it to life. A lot of back and forth, I’m not picky, but I definitely know what I want when it comes to nuddy.
S: What is the challenge you face most regularly?
K: I face a million different challenges every day, mostly new ones. That is typical of start-up life. It’s a huge learning curve. I would say that the biggest challenge is managing different elements of a business, which you have little to no experience in. I do everything on my own right now – it’s tough.
S: What couldn’t you live without?
K: My friends and family – they keep me sane(ish) and sweets, I just love sweets.
S: Can you tell us what your day-to-day looks like.
K: It varies, my office is at home but I get cabin fever so I tend to go out. I gym 4-5 times a week, it keeps my mind focused and I love it. As I said, I do everything at the moment. One day you’ll find me packing boxes, then next I’ll be on the train down to London for meetings with big retailers. It’s manic, but fun.
S: The hardest part of your journey so far?
K: Self belief. Something that I struggle with anyway is highlighted. You have good and bad days, the good days are absolutely amazing, but those’ bad days are really tough. There is a lot at stake, and a lot of responsibility and above anything, I just want to do my brand justice. I want to make nuddy something really special, something I know it can be.
S: What are three traits every self-starter needs?
K: Resilience – passion – and an eclectic mind.
S: I absolutely love everything nuddy. What’s next for you and the company?
K: So much. New product lines inc shampoo bar, yay. And another which I can’t reveal yet. Like nothing else on the market, so watch this space.
S: Finally, what would you tell your younger self?
K: YOU’RE GOING TO BE AMAZING. Just enjoy being young, there’s time. Don’t stress. MATHS IS IMPORTANT.
Fashion – As a founder what does your everyday outfit look like?I work out around 4-5 times a week, so you’ll often find me running round in my gym kit, in all honestly. I love fashion, but because I’m always so busy doing a range of different tasks, I tend to keep my everyday wardrobe super chilled. Unless I have meetings, you’ll find me make up free and chilled.
Books – One entrepreneurial book you would recommend? I’m not a big reader but I love listening to the ‘How I made it’ podcast with Guy Raz. The Sandy Lerner app is amazing too – so inspiring.
What are three ingredients in beauty products/soap products we should avoid?It depends on your skin type. Consumers tend not to know about or understand cosmetic ingredients, so it’s best to just find brands you trust and stick with them.
Travelling – When working is there a particular beauty product that you swear by? I have a few die hard faves. I have previously suffered from cystic acne so I’m very particular about my skincare and beauty regime. My Kiehls fave moisturiser is my little life saviour. It’s so hydrating, I love it.
Make sure you follow the nuddy page over on Instagram and Twitter and keep up with all of Kassi’s fabulousness via their website.
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