“There’s never going to be a perfect time, there’s no such thing as a perfect idea and you’re not going to have all the knowledge before getting started,” said Laura Burget, one of the co-founders of NIU BODY, when I asked her and co-founder, Connie Lo, their advice on starting a business. Talk about wise!
I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Laura and Connie a few months ago after they first launched their company, NIU BODY (niu means coconut in Hawaiian). Back then, they only had one product (makeup remover skin wipes) and they were in one store (Blossom Lounge in the Distillery District). Now, just a few months later, they have a total of six product varieties, including cleansers, lip polishes, serums, toning mists, clay masks and wipes. They’re also in six locations.
NIU BODY is a coconut-oil based, skincare brand made with essential oils for all types of skin, including combination, normal, dry and oily. They’re all-natural, vegan, cruelty free, smell amazing and are crafted in Toronto. Gotta love local!
When I met the two, I honestly thought they were life-long friends. I was shocked to find out they had met less than a year ago and decided to launch the brand five months after meeting. It was a mutual friend who connected them after seeing that these girls both had a similar passion for skincare and a vision to create something.
There’s never going to be a perfect time, there’s no such thing as a perfect idea and you’re not going to have all the knowledge before getting started.
Neither of them have a background in skincare (Connie went to school for commerce and Laura for engineering), but both have always loved tinkering around with different natural products for skin and hair. The main ingredient in NIU BODY, coconut oil, is one that the two have loved using for a long time. In the past, they would use it straight out of the jar to remove their makeup, but found it annoying when it would solidify. Their solution? Cotton pads saturated with coconut oil and essential oils for an easier makeup removal.
After testing their product on themselves, family and friends, they were ready to launch it to the world (the official launch was March 1st). Connie and Laura do everything on their own: the branding, product development, marketing, etc….AND they have been doing all of this while working full-time jobs in sales. #ladybosses
With such busy schedules, organization is key. A few of their favourite tips for staying organized include: making lists, using Google Drive spreadsheets and utilizing the ‘reminder’ app on the iPhone.
When their days are super busy and they feel bogged down, they find balance and stress-relief through other passions. Laura loves the gym and Connie loves cooking. It is rare, however, that they’ll feel super stressed over NIU BODY. The two live, breathe and dream their product and they absolutely love what they’re doing. It’s a creative outlet for them and a passion that doesn’t feel like work.
You would think, with only knowing each other for a few months before starting the brand, that challenges would arise in terms of getting to know each other and figuring out each other’s quirks. That hasn’t been the case though. The two balance each other out perfectly and are direct opposites in the Myers Briggs personality profile (Connie is EFSJ and Laura INTP). They also interact like they have been the best of friends for years. They’re so relaxed and laid back! In terms of roles, they split them up; Connie takes on more of the creative, branding tasks and Laura takes on more of the logistics. They both went into the partnership knowing their areas of expertise and have worked together to make sure everything goes smoothly.
When I asked them if they have any tips or suggestions for people looking to start their own business, they mentioned that it’s important to use your voice and ask for help. They said you don’t realize what skills or support you have from friends or your network until you ask. Don’t try to do it all on your own; talk to others about what you want to do. Put your idea out into the world and just vocalize it. They also said you just have to start. As for confidence and knowledge, it all evolves as the business evolves.
Don’t try to do it all on your own; talk to others about what you want to do. Put your idea out into the world and just vocalize it.
While I sat around the dining room table with Connie and Laura, I found the two to be wise beyond their years. When they chatted about NIU BODY they were so relaxed. I asked how they keep their composure and they said that it all comes down to mindset. “When you have the mindset that it’s not going to be perfect, and you know that everything will fall into place, it creates a more stress-free environment,” said Laura. Connie also mentioned that they don’t set crazy high expectations and they don’t put themselves under pressure. On the topic of mindset, the two girls are big on setting goals each week and celebrating all their different milestones. They also create daily power lists, which includes listing their top four to five goals for the day and craft vision boards to inspire motivation.
Connie and Laura were super inspiring to chat with and their amazing energy goes into every product they create. Check them out and give them some love on Instagram!