Eunice Cofie, a Cosmetic Chemist and Esthetician based in Virginia, initially conceptualised her skincare brand, Nuekie back in 2003, however the founder decided to follow her passion and execute the skincare brand fulltime only six years ago.
Nuekie came from a burning desire to help individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds to take better care of their skin. It also came from a childhood insecurity of her growing up darker skinned and being teased due to her dark complexion. Her amazing health conscious products focus on hyperpigmentation which many women of colour encounter and stubborn skin issues such as acne.
SCHICK contributor, Lawrencia Nelson had the opportunity to talk with the charismatic founder to discuss being a Black woman in the skincare industry, the barriers and relevant skin health tips.
Eunice, you are a Cosmetic Chemist and Esthetician which is impressive. What made you go into the skincare industry?
Thank you! I grew a passion for the skincare industry out of my own challenges with my skin and exposure to cosmetic science. I have always been entrepreneurial.
What inspired you to start Nuekie?
I was inspired to start Nuekie while I was a chemistry student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. My organic lab professor taught my classmates and I how to make hair relaxers and lotions. I became interested in formulating products and began conducting research with my professor. He taught me everything he knew about cosmetic science. It was during my research that I realised that there was a need for clinical grade of products for people of colour. It was obvious that the big beauty brands believed that ‘one-size-fits-all’ which isn’t true. That was the impetus I needed to start which is now today Nuekie.
Being a woman of color in the beauty industry, have you encountered any challenges and how did you overcome them if you had any?
There aren’t many women of colour founders who are also scientists. It can be challenging being a Black cosmetic chemist in this space. Also, I am not only a cosmetic chemist but I am also an esthetician. At times, I find that I have to state my academic credentials to non-POCs just to be taken seriously. My faith has helped me to overcome this; I remind myself of who I am and what I am called to do in this world. The book called The Purpose and Power of Vision by Dr. Myles Munroe has been pivitol to my life.
Being a start-up founder can be challenging because in the beginning you have to do everything until you can create a team; this can be tiring. Reading books on business and entrepreneurship and participating in entrepreneurship programs has helped me to set OKRs, delegate more, and put more structure around my vision.
Can you tell me briefly about your products and what distinguishes you from other skincare products at the moment?
Nuekie skincare products are scientifically designed for ethnic minorities. That includes people of African descent, Hispanics, Middle Easterners, Asians, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders. Our approach to formulating our products is unique because we incorporate traditional African medicine and modern science. We harness the power of African plants to address skin disorders such as acne and hyperpigmentation.
What skin health tips can you provide to women that want to look after their skin better?
I always tell women that the first step to healthy skin is to understand your skin type – normal, oily, combination, dry or sensitive. Knowing your skin type is the foundation to creating a skincare regimen. It dictates the types of products that you choose for your skin care regimen. I also recommend that women should be consistent with their skincare regimen and be patient with their skin. It takes 6 to 8 weeks to see results in our skin.
Are there other women that have inspired you during your journey?
Yes, there are many women that have inspired my journey as cosmetic chemist and entrepreneur. My mother’s beauty, strength, and resilience inspire me. She immigrated to the United States from Ghana as a nurse and when she was able to create a better life for her and our family. I also admire women like Basetsana Kumalo, Oprah, Felecia Suttle, and Janice Bryant Howroyd.
What advice would you give to other women that want to become a Cosmetic Chemist or Esthetician?
I would encourage any woman who wants to be a cosmetic chemist or esthetician to start by researching for academic programs that will sharpen their knowledge and skill set. Who you learn from is very important. There are several great cosmetic science programs and esthetic programs out there. I also encourage women to be willing to invest in their professional development by taking courses, reading business books and industry magazines and attending conferences.
Where do you see Nuekie in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see Nuekie continuing to grow and maintaining the needs of our consumer at the forefront. I definitely see us expanding our product line and entering into new verticals within the beauty industry; I see so many needs that can be fulfilled. I am excited about the innovation that we will bring to the industry in the coming years.