My Shade of Nude
In my experience, there are limits to being a solopreneur – especially one that chooses to launch a new brand and product: Limited Funds, Limited Styles, Limited Colors.
Some days, the limits prove to be more discouraging than others. Single handedly creating a niche in a 106 year old industry, doesn’t happen overnight, I get it.
Being a new solopreneur, however, also has its benefits. For example, the NDA brand is still in the infantile stage so it’s relatively easy to pivot, shift and change.
As a matter of fact, NDA is making a change right now. In response to a realization that hit like a freight train last week, NDA is redefining the concept of our “nude” bralette. Beach, the skin tone color of The Elli Bralette, is Pantone Color, “Brown Rice”. This color was specifically chosen for its invisibility under a white t-shirt. My white t-shirt.
Recently, someone said to me, “the NDA brand seems a bit white washed“. At the time, I didn’t understand what that meant. For years, I’ve been laser focused on perfecting a nipple concealer and designing a bra around it. Head down, I continued to charge forward and in February, NDA launched The Elli Bralette in three colors: Storm, Azalea, Beach (grey, pink, nude). My nude.
The Tipping Point
Then, last week our world shifted. The magnificent energy and passion around the cry for social justice and racial equality was palpable. All over the globe, feelings were happening, old and new, and a revolution began. We were re-educated on how one voice, one action, can make a difference. Collectively motivated to do better, to be better, the fire was lit under us to act now.
So, on the fire…I sat.
Some acted immediately. I sat with the great uncomfortable, watching, listening, learning, thinking. I was anxious to do my part but needed it to come from a real and authentic place. Shutting off the screens, I yielded to my process.
For inspiration, I turned to music to create some space in my mind. First up – and never fails me – Rap and Hip Hop. In this genre of my youth, I find a happy place. Time and time again it has energized and lit me up, so starting here was a no brainer. Inspired and hungry for more, I began searching hashtag: #blackartists. Then…Boom. There it was.
I had happened upon the Instagram profile of artist, Reynya Noriega, and don’t think I will ever, fully be able to describe (it brings tears to my eyes as I write this) how her artwork affected me. It opened the brain space I was looking for, helped me visualize the difference I could make, my brand could make. Turns out, it’s been right in front of my face the whole time.
Early last week, I was recounting to a friend how NDA was referred to as “white washed”. She quickly pointed out, “For women of color, Beach is not going to be invisible under white t-shirts, it will look like a white bra.” Dang it.
The next day, she sent me the link for Nude Barre, founded by Erin Carpenter. Frustrated with the lack of hosiery colors, and having do dye her tights and undergarments to match her skin tone, Erin created the company to provide a solution for women of color. Nude Barre offers hosiery and seamless thongs in 12 shades of nude. That’s 12 shades of skin color ya’ll.
London based, Nubian Skin is cut from the same cloth. Ade Hassan, couldn’t find nude undergarment options for women with darker skin like her, so she decided to create the company in order to provide nude alternatives for lingerie and hosiery.
These women, Reynya, Erin and Ade, not only have inspired me to do better, to be better, the mere existence of their work and brands has inadvertently forced me to take a hard look at my own brand and message. The takeaway: My nude is not your nude, her nude. NDA is awake, we see the void, and offering a broader range of skin tone colors is exactly what we’ll be doing.
Pivot, shift, change. It’s a Nude Revolution up in here.