Nebedai means ‘never die’ in Wolof [a language of Senegal]. This brand belives that skincare would be more efficient by using natural ingredients combined with laboratory innovation. From the Moringa plant, believed to hold exceptional healing properties for all parts of the body, essential skincare products have been created. Rather than following the trends, Nebedai takes a different approach by promoting slow beauty and lifestyle. A life where you can take the time to appreciate nature and its wonders. Through an interview, we have realized what makes them standout in thr beauty scene in Africa. Take a look;
1. You are originally from Congo and Rwanda but you’ve lived in different parts of Africa and Europe. Specifically, how did that contribute to you deciding to become an entrepreneur?
Living in different parts of the world shaped greatly my perception of the world and my interest for entrepreneurship. As I was living in Africa as a teenager, I was astonished by how creative and innovative we are as African, yet the world knows so little about it. Therefore at 16 years old, I vowed to myself to one day contribute in showcasing our great continent worldwide. At that time, I didn’t know how I would achieve it but I hold that dream close to my heart. It was while I was studying at university in Scotland in 2011, that I met a good friend of mine who was juggling between studying and launching her own start-up. At that time, I still had no idea what I wanted to do after university. This encounter with that friend was a light bulb moment for me and I realized I wanted to become an entrepreneur, I finally found my calling.
2. You had your master’s degree in 2014 but your brand didn’t start till 2019? Was all that time in between spent on research and preparation?
Not at all. As I mentioned previously, I realized I wanted to become an entrepreneur while I was still an undergraduate. From that moment, I tried different ventures while still at university, it consisted of projects I would start but which then wouldn’t fall through because of a lack of financing or a lack of time. I tried to build projects in so many areas: I tried to set up my own record label selling African music (especially South African music), then I tried to develop an app to make the process of renting a flat and finding roommates in London easier.
The project I actually went through was to launch a fashion label where people could customize garments online. I started that project straight after university despite my parents being reluctant of me starting a business instead of finding a job. And the result is I made every selling mistake possible in that venture by over spending, having a complicated supply chain and so on. After a year of running the business, I stopped it. 5 years later I came up with the idea of Nebedai, and it literally took me 4/5 months from the moment I had the idea to the moment I launched the first product. Nebedai was born very fast because I gained so much knowledge from my past failures. I already knew how to set up a company, launch a website and work on a tight budget.
3. I’m sure it is no news to you that the many Africans suffer from insecurity when it comes to the tone of their skin. Skincare brands however capitalize on this insecurity and offer skincare products that contain harmful materials with the promise of achieving a lighter complexion. What makes you stand out in the industry in that regard.
First of all, what makes us stand out is our message. At Nebedai, we have an inclusive message, the brand is for whole skin tone, age and gender. Instead of altering who you are, we want to celebrate your uniqueness. And we are a skincare brand that helps highlight your beauty, not change who you are.
Secondly, we stand out with our image. We try to represent different skin tones in our campaign ranging from dark to light tone. I also want to show different body types on future campaigns; From curvy to slim and also models of all ages. Our message is ‘my skin never dies’, whether you are 20 or 70 years old, you are beautiful the way you are!
4. Personally I think “Nebedai” is an innovative name and the story behind it is a powerful one. Educate us on what known ingredients your products contain that indeed help it to live up to its name (Never Die) Collagen? Retinol?
For our first range we didn’t use collagen or retinol, we mainly use natural ingredients. Each range is developed around one core high-potency plant. For our first range we’ve used Moringa oil. Moringa has amazing anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidants properties. Therefore, when we work on the formulation of products with our partner laboratory, we think of ways to amplify the properties of the core plant. This is how we can come up with products that are not only efficient but also gentle for all skin types.
You will also notice something in the skincare industry: once an ingredient is popular everyone is using it. We try to shy away from trends, I am not against using a trendy ingredient but we have to use it with intention, not just to follow a trend.
5. Nebedai’s vision is to promote slow beauty as a part of a lifestyle. How do you deal with individuals that expect quick results when they first begin to use your products? (How to you reassure and encourage them to be patient?)
Indeed, it takes time to educate a new way of thinking, or rather undo years of marketing messages blasted in favor of overnight success. What I like to say to customers that are reluctant with slow beauty is we should look at the results with fast beauty: for example, with a spot treatment, you might have quicker results, overnight results. However, then it might over dry your skin or it might have impaired it.
While with the serum we’ve developed to fight inflammation, it might take a bit longer to calm the inflammation. However, it will leave your skin healthy, not irritated and it is so gentle you can use it each night. People will notice in the long run that slow beauty has permanent results while fast beauty is all about quick fixes but you might get other problems occurring along the way. And I always say that everything that is worth it takes a little bit of extra time.
6. What growth do you anticipate for your business in the coming years? Any juicy releases you want to give us a first-hand scoop about?
In the coming years I’d like to see Nebedai selling products to major retailers and reaching new markets, Asia being one of them. I’d also like to find new plants that have never been used before in the cosmetic industry.
We will soon start to work on the R&D of a new range, using a different core plant. For this new range we’ll develop body products this time. I’m excited for 2021!