Business management

LBB Skin

As part of our showcase of inspiring independent retailers, home fragrance founder Nnenna Onuba talks about her experiences of trading in 2020.

How have you found trading this year?

“It’s been a minefield, an uncertain time that’s been difficult to plan for. However, it’s also been a good time to experiment, especially for a business as young as LBB. We’ve pretty much been in a constant try/learn/adapt loop and it’s still going. We have been fortunate that even though beauty as a whole has taken a hit, demand for skincare and wellness has been more resilient.”

Have you adapted your business in any way?

“Absolutely. One important move was getting LBB on Amazon. Pre-pandemic, I was apprehensive of it for lots of obvious reasons, but it became a no-brainer once the pandemic hit and retail shutdown. It’s super easy to jump on Amazon but not so easy to succeed. We did our research and chose experienced partners to help us navigate our way, and we are finally starting to see positive results from an investment we started in May.

“Another area we focused on was communications. LBB is short for Life is Beautiful in Balance – and has always been about combining skincare and wellness to rejuvenate and restore balance to a hectic life. Because our products work extremely well for travel and being on the go, it was easy to focus on those benefits when we launched last year.

It’s been a good time to experiment. We have been fortunate that even though beauty as a whole has taken a hit, demand for skincare and wellness has been more resilient

Nnenna Onuba
Founder and CEO, LBB Skin

“Listening to our customers’ needs throughout the pandemic has seen us shifting focus to the natural and wellness benefits of the brand. We introduced rituals and masterclasses to support them through this difficult and stressful period. Our calming Mood Rescue oil has been a top performer, and through England’s November lockdown we partnered with a transformation coach to host a mindfulness residency focusing on several different stress management and relaxation techniques, such as Qigong, a deeply relaxing flow exercise.”

Have you done anything different in the run-up to Christmas this year?

“Many people are hurting, so this is a time to reflect and give back. For Black History Month, we partnered with a charity empowering young black girls through corporate mentorship placements. We’ve done some gifting for key workers through the pandemic, and currently have a holiday box with Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW), who will be donating part of the proceeds to the Eve Appeal, a charity that funds research into gynaecological cancers. We’ll be offering our customers the chance to give back through a number of other initiatives.”

How important is it to support local and independent businesses?

“Critical. Enterprise is the backbone of this country and every time I see another ‘closing down’ sign, my heart breaks. The government is doing what it can but as consumers we have to rally and support our independent businesses with our wallets. Times are tough and, unfortunately, the financing options are much narrower and remain inaccessible for many.”

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to launch?

“Just start. Find the simplest form of your product and start testing it. Most times it’s not a final product, it could be that you start curating on social media, write a blog, create a video demo. Read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – there is a lot of good advice in there!”

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