Natalee Onyeche is the owner of a handmade skincare business in Nottingham called Skin Solace. She makes facial oils, candles and body butters with a keen focus on self-care through skincare.
Natalee set up her business in 2016 after coming back from Ghana, where she’d taken some time away from the business with her children and decided she wanted to bring the business back with a bang. Her aim was to turn Skin Solace into a sophisticated, luxury brand to reflect the high-quality ingredients and make her customers feel pampered.
Natalee was directed to the Business & IP Centre Nottinghamshire where she was provided access to a range of business databases and intellectual property guidance which helped her upscale her business, work out her funding options and register her trade mark.
With regular check-ins at her BIPC local in Bulwell Riverside Library, she has developed a business plan, focused her budgets and been signposted to wider business support opportunities, including working with students from Nottingham Trent University to support her with her brand’s transition.
“Having BIPC there and their huge amount of resources has been a Godsend to me really. If I need some information, I can go to them and get that support. Having this available for free in a local community is brilliant. I don’t need to travel to London or somewhere far out to get this support. It’s on my doorstep literally.”
Having grown up in Nottingham, Natalee found it only appropriate to start her business in her home city. She found the community aspect of the city incomparable to any other in terms of development and support of Skin Solace.
“When I’ve done pop-ups outside of Nottingham, it’s not quite been the same. In Nottingham everyone gets behind you because they know it’s a Nottingham-based brand. I think there’s something about being in your home city; it’s like its Nottingham’s business, not just mine. So, that’s what I love about Nottingham and they’re very good at supporting you.”
Due to the support from BIPC, Natalee has been able to rebrand Skin Solace. Her new designs and labels make her products sit seamlessly in high-end department stores such as John Lewis, where she has already hosted several pop-up shops since her rebrand.
For Skin Solace, it’s all about growth this year.
“I’ve recently expanded into Nottingham Castle Shop, and I’m hoping that I can soon find somewhere I can do workshops for people to come and make their own products as well. Let’s see what happens, but it’s all about growth, real growth. Skin Solace is ready for it.”
We asked Natalee for her main pieces of advice to aspiring business owners:
- “My best piece of business advice would be to attend to your intellectual property. Even if it’s just registering your business name with Companies House or submitting dormant accounts if they’re not active – at least you know that it’s secured, and you can sort it out straight away.”
- “Just go for it. Be confident and stand by your brand and your business. If you’re not confident, see why that is, and check things out. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably because something’s wrong.”
- “You don’t have to know everything, and what you don’t know, the BIPC will definitely know or know someone who does.”