Nána Lloyd is the founder and owner of Nunuki, a proudly South African skincare brand developed to care for the sensitive skin of little humans.
Nunuki merges the science of skincare with fun by incorporating an enchanting family of characters
, called nunukis, who each have their own special strengths and help teach children valuable life lessons.
As a mother of two, Lloyd understands the importance of family time and how intimate moments during bathtime and bedtime are perfect teaching opportunities. "It was important for me to create a brand that resonates with parents and makes a difference in their everyday life. A brand that is not only known for skincare but offers the most valuable life lessons to each user," she explains.
With 20 years of marketing experience under her belt, Lloyd's work with clients in the skincare industry and her experience as a mother led her to identify a market opportunity for skincare products that were gentle enough for children of all ages and that provided parents with peace of mind.
She developed the Nunuki range in partnership with a panel of South African cosmetic and pharmaceutical experts, using natural active ingredients compatible with the most sensitive of skin. All Nunuki products have been dermatologically tested and approved, CANSA-endorsed and are Proudly South African.
Nunuki’s first product listing was in Kids Emporium in April 2019, and in June 2019 a Pick n Pay buyer approached Lloyd indicating the retailer's interest in stocking the brand. The range is also available at leading pharmacies and independent baby boutiques.
Lloyd says that while her business is still small, her dream is for it to have a significant impact on the lives of little ones and parents for years to come. "I want to remind parents that special moments and a foundation for good, open communication happens during simple, everyday routines such as bathing and creaming. Make it fun and make it count."
Here, Lloyd share more on the development of the Nunuki business, and her journey so far.
With an established marketing career, what led you to make the switch to skincare - specifically skincare for children?
I left formal corporate marketing employment at the end of 2012 to start a marketing consulting business. The main driver for leaving the ‘security’ of working for a company, was to have more flexibility to spend time with my children. One of my clients that I worked with for over 2 years, was a dermatologist with his own teen and adult skincare brand. That was the introduction to that category.
The decision to develop a range for children was both driven by a market opportunity and my own passion for little ones. The development of the range (2018 - 2019) was completed while I still consulted to a range of clients.
How did you go about formulating the Nunuki range?
The benefit of my marketing experience is that you work with a range of businesses, departments, categories and specialists to help grow a brand. My expertise is collaboration and getting the right people to work together for an optimal end product.
I wanted a range that was developed for sensitive little humans’ skins, and helped to create special memories for parents through unique smell and touch – so I worked with expert local cosmetic chemists and pharmacologists to develop formulas to meet those objectives.
Where are Nunuki ingredients sourced from, and where are the products manufactured?
Most of our ingredients are sourced through local companies, but they import some of the ingredients. All the packaging (except the cosmetic pumps) are manufactured locally, and the production of Nunuki products happen just outside of Pretoria.
What are the challenges and also the benefits that come with manufacturing locally?
The main challenge of manufacturing in South Africa, is to contain the input costs to ensure that we can sell to customers at a competitive price. The biggest benefit is that the growth of Nunuki can directly have a positive impact on other South African businesses and people.
Nunuki is now available at a number of SA retailers, including Kids Emporium and Pick n Pay. What was the process like getting your products onto retail shelves?
To launch and grow a new brand is a relentless process of knocking on doors, getting used to people not responding back to you or saying no, but mostly to celebrate the small wins and inroads made. A local, authentic story with a solid business case helped to open doors.
My first listing was in Kids Emporium in April 2019, and I agreed to supply their stores on a consignment basis to help get Nunuki products into the hands of consumers. The business and franchisees have played a big part in growing the brand over the last year.
I met the Pick n Pay buyer while exhibiting at my first Mama Magic expo in May 2019. Pick n Pay focuses on local, small suppliers and helping businesses enter retail and help them grow. I am so grateful that the Pick n Pay team is giving Nunuki the opportunity and support to help fast-track the growth of the business.
It has been a huge learning curve – I am the packer, logistics manager, accounting clerk, marketing manager and everything else – it has come with some hard lessons and sleepless nights, and the prospect of building a sustainable, growing South African business.
Each Nunuki product is paired with a cute character that imparts valuable life lessons. What inspired this approach?
One of the key values I want to instil in our children is to always be kind. This value has translated into the purpose of my business.
During skincare time with little ones, parents have time to connect with their little ones – what a perfect time to teach a life lesson? So, each Nunuki product has a unique nunuki character that can help parents teach these lessons. The children also take ownership of ‘their own nunuki’ and turns skincare time into fun time. The best way to teach little ones is through storytelling.
What have been your most important lessons learned on your business journey thus far?
That most things will not go according to plan, and that you must roll with the punches. It is hard, and resilience is the most important characteristic for an entrepreneur. But like one of my mentors says "nothing worth it, is every easy."
How do you think more consumers can be encouraged to support local brands?
There has been a forced global move to nationalism due to this pandemic, which has contributed to our story of supporting local. We need big business to help support this movement – the small businesses need them to grow.
If more retailers can adopt the Pick n Pay approach to supporting local, it will go a long way to help consumers buy local.Visit Nunuki online for more information and to shop the range, and connect with the brand on Instagram and Facebook.